Vol. 5 Num 1050 Wed. May 16, 2007  
Front Page

3 killed, 50 missing as cyclone Akash makes landfall

Three fishermen were killed in Saint Martin's Island while at least 50 others went missing in the bay as cyclone Akash crossed the coastal area yesterday morning and weakened into a land depression.

A tidal surge triggered by the cyclonic storm with winds up to 80 kph, swept through the coastal district of Cox's Bazar at about 9:00am yesterday, damaging some two thousand houses, sources at the district administration's control room said.

As the land depression headed towards Myanmar, the met office advised the maritime ports of Chittagong and Mongla to lower danger signals seven and five and hoist local cautionary signal number three.

The activities at Chittagong port resumed at around 10:30am yesterday after 19 hours of suspension, while the operation of flights from Chittagong airport started again from 12:00pm. However, flight operation at the Cox's Bazar airport was yet to be resumed as the western part of the airport was inundated due to tidal surge.

Meanwhile, bodies of three fishermen were recovered from Saint Martin's Island, BSS says.

Quoting the island's union parishad chairman Firoz Ahmed, BSS reports that some 45 houses and 30 shops were flattened and around 200 trees were uprooted by the cyclone while a fishing boat capsized in the sea. Twenty fishing boats were rescued.

In Cox's Bazar, the storm and accompanying rain cut off power and uprooted trees, while the tidal surge swamped several roads, a disaster management official said. They also said that at least 10 boats with some 50 fishermen aboard are still missing, our correspondent there added.

Two hectares of shrimp farms and six kilometres of embankment were washed away in the 4-feet (1.2 metre) high tidal waves in the wake of the storm, but fortunately it did not cause as much damage as was feared initially, the officials concerned said.

Cox's Bazar went on cyclone alert on Monday, with officials warning that the storm in the Bay of Bengal could cause a tidal surge two metres high.

About one lakh men, women and children, who took shelter at 475 different cyclone shelter centres across the coast and offshore islands, returned to their homes, officials said.

Our Barisal correspondent reports: Cyclone Akash crossed Barisal region in the morning yesterday. No major damages or causalities were reported till the filing of this report.

The authorities partially resumed the operation of water transports from yesterday afternoon.

Barisal River Port Officer Saiful Islam said that PS Turn, a rocket steamer plying on Khulna-Dhaka route, were stranded at the port with more than 500 passengers on board in Monday evening. It left for Dhaka at around 11:00am yesterday after the weather condition improved.

Reports from the coastal areas of Bhola, Patuakhali, Barguna and Pirojpur districts said that several chars and lowlands near the river banks and coasts were flooded due to high tide prompted by the cyclone since Monday morning.

No information was received from the trawlers in the deep sea as of filing of this report yesterday afternoon. The owners and family members of the crew hoped that they took shelters at the cyclone centres.

Charpara Road in the coastal Cox's Bazar town went under knee-deep water yesterday as tropical cyclone Akash triggered a tidal surge in the Bay. PHOTO: STAR