At least five people have been killed in Bangladesh after Cyclone Mora hit the country’s south-eastern coast. The tropical storm ‘Mora’ lashed the region destroying hundreds of poorly built homes in some remote islands in the Bay of Bengal, officials said, according to report.
Most of them were killed by falling trees in the districts of Cox’s Bazar and Rangamati, officials told the this correspondent. Hundreds of houses were fully or partly damaged, the officials said. Significant damage is reported in refugee camps housing Rohingya Muslims from neighbouring Myanmar.
The authorities have moved hundreds of thousands of people to shelters.
The storm started crossing the country’s southern coastal region early in the day. Some 300,000 people had been moved to safety or were evacuated on Monday as the delta nation braced for its first strong storm of the year, with more than 1,000 shelters set up in several districts, including Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong. More than 20,000 volunteers were on hand.
It made landfall at 06:00 local time (00:00 GMT) between the fishing port of Cox’s Bazar and the city of Chittagong, with winds of up to 117 km/h (73mph), the country’s Meteorological Department said.
It had previously warned that low-lying areas of Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong and many other coastal districts were “likely to be inundated” by a storm surge of 1.2m-1.5m (4-5ft) above normal levels.
Cox’s Bazar’s chief government administrator, Ali Hossain, said the storm destroyed hundreds of homes on Saint Martins Island after it started hitting the area around midnight Monday.
Saint Martins public representative Nur Ahmed said strong winds flattened many homes. About 8,000 residents moved to storm shelters and hotels. “We have no news of any casualties in the area so far,” he said.
Many of the 22,000 people on Cox’s Bazar’s Moheshkahli Island, where 10,000 people died in a cyclone in 1991, moved to shelters. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 89 kilometers (55 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 117 kph (73 mph).
Tracking website Tropical Storm Risk forecasts that Cyclone Mora will move northwards past Chittagong, weakening as it moves further inland and downgrading from a Category One hurricane to a tropical storm.
Parts of eastern India are expected to be affected later on. The Bay of Bengal is prone to storms, and Bangladesh is often hit by severe weather during the monsoon season from the middle to the end of the year.
Last year Cyclone Roanu hit coastal Bangladesh, leaving at least 24 people dead.