BSS-47 Bangladesh orders maximum possible evacuation overnight as Amphan approaches

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ZCZC

BSS-47

AMPHAN-PREPAREDNESS-LEAD

Bangladesh orders maximum possible evacuation overnight as Amphan
approaches

DHAKA, May 19, 2020 (BSS) – Bangladesh authorities has ordered evacuation
of maximum possible number of people to safety before midnight tonight as
intensifying wraths of the region’s first super cyclone in decades prompts
the met office to contemplate issuing the highest danger signal number in
their existing scale.

“The local authorities have been directed to complete the evacuation before
midnight today,” state minister for disaster management Dr Enamur Rahman told
an emergency news briefing at his office.

The disaster management ministry earlier set a target of evacuating nearly
22 lakh people to safety readying 12,078 cyclone shelters within 8pm tonight
but the state minister said it could be difficult to move out people to
safety tomorrow as the killer storm continued to approach.

“The met office could issue their highest ‘great danger signal’ at 6 am
tomorrow monitoring the situation overnight . . . so our goal is to move out
all people in vulnerability to safety,” Rahman said.

The minister said a large number of people by now were brought to cyclone
shelters in 19 vulnerable districts in southern coastlines.

He said, “There are 12,078 cyclone centers in the country with capacity of
sheltering a total of 5,190,144… Due to COVID-19 pandemic, we would be able
to give shelter up to 22 lakh.”

The state minister directed all relevant agencies and organizations to
ensure one miter distancing for all people, who took shelter in the cyclone
centers, to prevent infection from the deadly virus.

He said required numbers of medical teams were kept ready to treat the
cyclone victims in 19 coastal districts in the country.

Rahman said army troops were called out to supplement the cyclone
preparedness initiatives, alongside Red Crescent volunteers and government
agencies including police.

“We have adequate stock of food . . . the local administration, army
troops and volunteers are ready to face the cyclone impact,” he said. “In
most vulnerable areas including chars (small island), we are trying to help
people move out along with their valuables and cattle as well,” disaster
management ministry senior secretary Md Shah Kamal said.

He said the evacuees were being provided dry food while “we have enough
stock of relief materials for them.”

Meteorologists, meanwhile, said the world largest mangrove forest the
Sundarbans was likely to absorb the main brunt of the Amphan onslaughts as it
did many times over the centuries including that of the recent major storms
to minimize human casualties.

“The Sundarbans always absorbed the brunt of cyclones whichever hit the
coastlines alongside the Bangladesh-India, we expect the forest to face the
initial impact of Amphan like foot soldiers,” meteorology department director
Shamsuddin Ahmed told newsmen.

Leading global storm tracker AccuWeather earlier today described Amphan as
the first super cyclone in Bay of Bengal since 1999, fearing the “ferocious”
storm to unleash extreme impacts across Bangladeshi and northeastern Indian
coastlines.

The latest Bangladesh et office bulletin said the Amphan over west-central
bay and adjoining area moved north-northeast wards and lied over the same
area (lat. 17.0on, long. 87.0oe).

It said the storms location at 3 pm today was centred at about 785 km
southwest of Chattogram Port, 740 km southwest of Cox’s Bazar Port, 670 km
south-southwest of Mongla Port and 665 km south-southwest of Payra Port.

It is likely to move in a north-northeasterly direction and may cross
Bangladesh coast between khulna-Chattogram during afternoon / evening 20 may
2020.

Indian met office in a near identical statement said Amphan was very likely
to move north-north-eastwards across northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West
Bengal -Bangladesh coasts.

It predicted the path to be between Indian West Bengal’s Digha and
Bangladesh’s Hatiya Islands close to Sundarbans “during afternoon to evening
hours of 20thMay 2020with maximum sustained wind speed of 155-165 kp/h
gusting to 185kp/h”.

BSS/ASG/BKD/MMR/AR/2040 HRS