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Tuesday, October 28, 2008
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Cyclone Reshmi dies down with little loss

6 killed; crops, thatched houses razed

Heavy rain and strong wind damage paddy in fields in Boalmari area of Faridpur as Cyclone Reshmi made landfall in the southwestern region of the country yesterday.Photo: Focus Bangla

At least six people were killed and dozens of fishermen missing as Cyclone Reshmi lashed Khulna-Barisal coast yesterday morning with winds gusting up to 84 km an hour.

Hundreds of thatched houses and crops on a vast tract of land were razed to the ground by gales and heavy rains.

Offshore islands and coastal areas were swept by tides leaping up to 6 feet above normal level.

As of filing the report at 10:00pm, communications between the capital and southern districts through interior waterways remained suspended. Road links between many areas however were restored.

A special bulletin from the Met office said Reshmi crossed the south coast near Patharghata at 9:00am. It soon weakened into a land depression and moved inland towards northeast.

Travelling across Faridpur, Madaripur, Chandpur, Dhaka and adjoining districts, the storm uprooted numerous trees, and electricity and telephone poles.

It grew even weaker as the day wore on, and exited through Netrakona border in the evening, meteorologist Sadekul Alam told The Daily Star.

The squally weather conditions may continue for a day more in the northern districts, he added.

Local cautionary signal for maritime ports Mongla, Chittagong and Cox's Bazar has been downgraded to number three.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has advised fishing boats, trawlers and other river craft to be berthed till further notice.

Runa, 9, of Char Kukrimukri, and Hazera Begum, 58, of Charfashion in Bhola died when their houses came crashing down on them.

Ainal Khan, 70, was blown away by winds in Mehendiganj upazila of Bhola. Later, locals recovered his body from Maskata river.

Fakrunnesa, 40, of Muladi upazila in Barisal, was crushed to death by a tree knocked down by the storm.

Shahabuddin, alias Mona, 40, in Faridganj upazila, and an unidentified 12-year-old boy in Hajiganj upazila of Chandpur district too were killed when trees fell on them.

Sharonkhola of Bagerhat, Patharghata of Barguna and Mathbaria of Pirojpur suffered the first blow of the tropical storm, reports our Barisal correspondent.

Heavy rains accompanied by winds blowing at 60-84 km per hour whipped Barguna, Patuakhali, Barisal, Bhola, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira districts in the morning hours.

During the time, eight fishermen went missing as their boats overturned in the Meghna and its tributaries.

Barisal Divisional Commissioner Mesbah-Ul-Alam said around 30% of the Aman crop in the areas worst-hit by the cyclonic storm was destroyed. A part of the city protection embankment was severely damaged.

In Chandpur, almost half of the 630 hectares of vegetables, and 100 thatched houses were ravaged.

Our Patuakhali correspondent adds: At least 11 fishermen, nine from Kalapara and the rest from Galachipa, went missing during the storm that damaged over 5,000 houses, 50 fish enclosures and 7,500 acres of Aman in the district.

Our Khulna correspondent reports: At least 19 trawlers and a boat capsized in Shibsha river near Dakope upazila.

Over 200 houses were flattened and 300 shrimp enclosures washed away in Koira upazila. Over 50 livestock died in Morrelganj upazila.

Cyclone shelters in Sharonkhola and Morrelganj upazilas of Bagerhat district were crammed full of people.

Some 15 fishing trawlers capsized in the Bay near Dublarchar, Katka, Meher Alir Char and Narkelbaria, leaving 50 fishermen missing.

The storm however could do little damage to the Sundarbans. Casualties too were few as people had been moved to safety beforehand.

Our Manikganj correspondent reports: Ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia-Kazirhat route remained suspended for about eight hours till 11:00am yesterday for inclement weather. As a result, thousands of passengers remained stranded on either side of the Padma.

Hundreds of buses and trucks were stuck in tailbacks for hours at Paturia and Daulatdia.

Our Munshiganj correspondent adds: Mawa-Kawrakandi ferry service was suspended for 11 hours till 11:00am yesterday, leading to long queues of vehicles on both sides of the Padma.

Our Madaripur correspondent reported that over 300 thatched houses and crops on a great swathe of land were levelled by the storm.

Around 100 tourists including two foreignersone Indian and one Spaniardwere marooned in the Saint Martin's Island due to blustery weather, our Chittagong correspondent adds.

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