November 15, 2007

Sidr strikes Bangladesh

According to latest reports in Tropical Cyclone Sidr strikes Bangladesh at category 4 hurricane velocity. The latest updates from different news sources so far:

- The hurricane SIDR struck Khulna-Barisal coast shortly after 5pm Thursday, setting off driving rains in its path.

- The hurricane triggered heavy winds speeding at up to 180 kilometres per hour through Heron Point, Khepupara, Dublarchar and coastal areas adjacent to the Sundarbans.

- The sea turned "very turbulent", the weather office said. Water level rose by up to 3 feet in the Bay.

- The core of the storm was still about 350 km (220 miles) from the coast and was expected to make landfall around midnight on Thursday (1800 GMT). The core of the storm has been static, but may suddenly move with super speed before it finally slams the shores.

- Evacuated! The BBC team had to leave the MV Aboshar after running aground in bad cylone weather. The vessel—MV Abashar hired for BBC's river tour named "Bangladesh by river"—got stuck in Daulatdia, 25 kilometres off Sirajganj town.

- Chittagong and Mongla ports suspended operations on Wednesday and moved ships to safer areas.

- All schools and colleges in Chittagong and other towns in the storm's path have been shut down and fishing trawlers have been asked to return to port immediately.

- Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong suspended its flight operations at 10pm Wednesday until otherwise told.

- Zia International Airport in Dhaka advised to suspend all flights from 9pm until further notice in Thursday.

- At Cox'd Bazar a popular tourist destination, authorities evacuated nearly 200,000 people to about 600 government and private shelters and asked others to move on their own. Nearly 10 million Bangladeshis live along the southern coast.

- The government is all set to face the disaster - The chief adviser of the caretaker Government Fakhruddin Ahmed said.

Update I: reports:

- The mega-cyclone SIDR ripped through the coastal zones of Bangladesh, leaving a trail of devastation behind. SIDR was more powerful than the 1991 cyclone that killed 140,000 people.

- The storm with strong, gusty winds continued its carnage on the southern coast from about 5:30pm Thursday to about 1:00am Friday.

- The storm triggered tidal surges that inundated many villages in the southern districts of Pirojpur and Jhalakathi. The areas plunged into blackouts.

- Around 600,000 persons evacuated to cyclone shelters.

- Casualties so far: A boat capsized in Satkhira, leaving a 70-year-old man dead. 16 persons are missing.

- The movement of SIDR seems to have slowed, but it is still as powerful as before - a Category 3 hurricane at the present.

- The meteorology department raised danger signal number 10, the highest, at Mongla, Bangladesh's second main sea port, and number 9 at Chittagong and Cox's Bazar.

- In Dhaka, Manik Mia Avenue was littered with uprooted trees. A long stretch of the road went under water, slowing traffic.

More Sidr path info at Joint typhoon warning center.

The Bangladesh coasts have been hit by over 80 cyclones of hurricane violence in the past 125 years, killing about two million people and rendering many more millions homeless.

Cyclone Sidr: Blogger experiences and reactions


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