The Indian Navy has rescued 33 people from choppy seas off Bangladesh which was today assessing the extent of loss after Cyclone Mora wreaked havoc and killed at least nine persons and left over 50,000 families homeless.
Indian Navy ship Sumitra rescued 33 people who were found adrift in the Bay of Bengal, about 160 kms from Chittagong.
The Eastern Naval Command is deploying P-81 aircraft as part of its rescue operation in Bangladesh.
The cyclone has affected over a quarter million people in the country, the disaster management ministry said.
As many as 286,000 people in 16 coastal districts were affected by the storm, Additional Secretary Golam Mostafa was quoted as saying by bdnews24.
Around 54,500 families have lost properties in the storm as nearly 60,000 houses have been damaged along with 1,592 acres of farmlands, he said.
Cox’s Bazar, the longest unbroken sea beach in the world, bore the brunt of the cyclone, with five people dead, over 20,000 houses destroyed and hundreds of trees uprooted, blocking roads all over the district.
In Bhola district, an infant died while in Rangamati, a woman and a girl were crushed to death when trees fell on their houses. In Bandarban, a man was killed. At least 10 people were injured.
Prime Minister Hasina today appreciated her government, saying a quick response mechanism averted severe casualties and damages.
“We are well capable of managing fallout from disasters. Cyclones and calamities will come. Our job is to take measures to avoid human losses.
“We are lucky as well since the storm hit the land during the ebb tide and as a result the storm surge did not become deadly,” she said in the Parliament.
Hasina said a number of houses and establishments were damaged as well as countless trees were uprooted.
She said: “We are preparing a list of affected people who had lost their houses” to extend hands in rebuilding their houses and establishments damaged by the cyclone.
She also said that two Navy ships have reached Kutubdia and Teknaf which are the worst affected areas to carry out relief operations while helicopters were kept ready to operate in the areas if needed.
Mora, packing winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour, made landfall in the country yesterday, tearing through the southwest districts including low-lying areas.
Authorities spearheaded a massive evacuation campaign as the meteorological department had issued the “great danger signal no 10” in a scale of 10 as the tropical cyclone, brewed in the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal, proceeded towards the country’s coastlines.
Despite low casualty figure, the storm left behind a trail of destruction as thousands of people lost their houses.
Thousands of Rohingya refugees hunkered down in the ruins of their camps waiting for help after a night in the rain with official saying the storm severely ravaged their makeshift shelters in Cox’s Bazar which borders Myanamr.
Authorities in Cox’s Bazar and neighbouring Chittagong district evacuated some 350,000 people from low-lying areas before the storm struck when most Rohingyas remained in their flimsy shelters in the camps.
Officials estimated that about 350,000 Rohingyas took refuge in Bangladesh following a new influx last October, when the Myanmar army launched an offensive in response to insurgent attacks.
The meteorological department yesterday said that the severe cyclonic storm ‘Mora’ moved northward over North Bay and started crossing Cox’s Bazar-Chittagong coast. It was likely to move in a northerly direction further, it said.
All flights were suspended to and from Chittagong international airport and the Cox’s Bazar airports yesterday.
As many as 300,000 people had been taken to shelters in more than 10 districts most vulnerable to the cyclone.
The districts affected with the storm include Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali, Lakshmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barisal and Pirojpur.
By late last night, the cyclone began losing strength.
Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader has said that the government has disbursed cash assistance of 18.7 million taka for the affected areas.
Bangladesh is often hit by bad storms between April and December that cause deaths and widespread destruction.
Cyclone Roanu hit the southern coast of Bangladesh last year, leaving 20 people dead and forcing half a million to flee their homes.
The Mora cyclone formed after heavy rains in Sri Lanka caused floods and landslides killing over 200 people.