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Wednesday July 17, 2024

16 dead after cyclone batters Bangladesh and India

By AFP
May 28, 2024
People move with their belongings to the cyclone shelter before Cyclone Remal hits the country in the Shyamnagar area of Satkhira, Bangladesh.— Reuters/file
People move with their belongings to the cyclone shelter before Cyclone Remal hits the country in the Shyamnagar area of Satkhira, Bangladesh.— Reuters/file 

PATUAKHALI: Millions of people in low-lying areas of Bangladesh and India on Monday surveyed the tangled wreckage left by a powerful cyclone that killed at least 16 people, destroyed thousands of homes, smashed seawalls and flooded cities.

Winds and torrential rain still hammered residents as they tried to salvage what remained of their belongings, a day after Cyclone Remal made landfall with fierce gales and crashing waves.

“At least 10 people were killed in the cyclone” in Bangladesh, the country´s state minister for disaster Mohibbur Rahman told reporters. Some drowned, while others were crushed when their houses collapsed.

In neighbouring India, “at least six people” died, said Sumit Gupta, a senior government official from West Bengal state, including three who were electrocuted and others who were hit by debris. Villages had been swamped by storm surges, tin roofs ripped off, trees uprooted and powerlines cut, an AFP reporter in the affected area said.

“A total of 3.75 million people have been affected... 35,483 homes were destroyed by the cyclone, and another 115,992 homes were damaged”, Rahman said of the damage in Bangladesh alone.

Cyclones have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh in recent decades, but the number of superstorms hitting its densely populated coast has increased sharply, from around one a year to as many as three, due to the impact of climate change.

While many are used to the annual storm season, some said this cyclone was stronger and lasted longer than previous ones. “This time the wind is extreme,” said local businessman Uttom Kumar Das, 62. “It is also lasting longer than before.”