Cyclone Bulbul strikes Bangladesh and India, causing several deaths

Eight people died. Bangladesh is often hit by cyclones that have left hundreds of thousands of people dead in recent decades, and whose frequency and intensity have increased.

The World with AFP Posted today at 10:44, updated at 11:19

Time to Reading 3 min.

Villagers after cyclone Bulbul, in the Bakkhali area, India.
Villagers after cyclone Bulbul, in the Bakkhali area, India. DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / AFP

Natural disasters ensnare each other, carrying their share of deaths and despair, month after month. Hurricane Bulbul hit Bangladesh and India, with heavy winds and torrential rains, killing eight people and forcing two million Bangladeshi to spend the night in shelters, the authorities said on Sunday (November 10th). The cyclone, which was accompanied by winds reaching 120 km / h, hit the coastal areas of these two neighboring countries on Saturday night, causing airports and ports to close.

Three people died in the state of West Bengal in eastern India, two when trees fell on their homes and another after the fall of a tree in Calcutta. The collapse of a wall in the neighboring state of Odisha (northeast) also caused a death.

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In Bangladesh, four people were killed after being killed by trees and at least 20 people were injured. The hurricane has also damaged about 4,000 houses made mostly of mud and sheet metal, the secretary in charge of disaster management said. In the coastal region of Khulna, in southern Bangladesh, the most affected in the country, uprooted trees fell on the roads, preventing access to this area. The low-lying parts were flooded, according to Enamur Rahman, the minister in charge of disaster management. The cyclone declined in intensity as it entered the interior, the authorities said.

"Mangroves have protected the coast"

"(The cyclone) has turned into a big depression, causing heavy rainfall"Ayesha Khatun, deputy head of Bangladeshi weather services, said. Cyclone Bulbul first struck the Sundarbans, a region of innumerable arms and canals in the Ganges delta, home to the largest mangrove forest in the world. Shared between Bangladesh and India, this region is also home to the threatened Bengal tiger. "Mangroves have protected the coast from the impact of the storm", said Mme Khatun.

In India, the 120,000 evacuees began to return to their homes as the cyclone declined, the authorities said. Crossing West Bengal, the storm caused destruction, said the state's minister of urban development, Firhad Hakim. "Trees were uprooted, thatched roofs and wavy roofs were blown away"he detailed.

In Bangladesh, more than two million people have been evacuated and settled in more than 5,500 special shelters. Bangladeshi soldiers were sent to villages and tens of thousands of volunteers went door-to-door, calling loudspeakers to flee, some villages being below sea level.

Bangladesh regularly hit

"We spent the night with 400 other people"said Ambia Begum, 30. Refugee since Saturday in the port city of Mongla with her three children, she worries about her cattle and her house covered with a simple straw roof. Some 1,500 tourists remained stranded on St. Martin's Island, in the Bay of Bengal, as maritime services were interrupted by the weather.

Bangladesh is a flat country, mostly at less than 12 meters above sea level, and less than 10 per cent of its territory below that level. It is regularly affected by cyclones that have made hundreds of thousands of deaths over the last decades, and whose frequency and intensity have increased in recent years.

The authorities, however, have significantly improved their ability to anticipate in recent years, and in February, Fani, the largest hurricane to hit the country in five years, killed about ten people. By comparison, in 2007, Cyclone Sidr had killed more than 3,000 people.

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