Sun, Apr 19, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Homes damaged as cyclone lashes Bangladeshi coast

AFP , CHITTAGONG, BANGLADESH

A cyclone packing winds of up to 90km an hour lashed Bangladesh’s southeastern coastal area, damaging houses and uprooting trees, officials said yesterday.

Cox’s Bazar police chief Motiur Rahman said few casualties were reported after Cyclone Bijli weakened before making landfall late on Friday.

“The cyclone was not very strong. We took precautionary measures and all people living in low-lying areas went to shelters,” he said, adding that those evacuated were allowed to return home yesterday morning.

“Dozens of thatched houses were destroyed in the cyclone and some trees were uprooted,” he said.

Three people had died, including a 50-year-old man and a month-old baby, both of whom had medical conditions that deteriorated while being moved to the shelters.

“A nine-year-old boy was also killed after a tree fell on his family’s corrugated tin-roofed thatched house during the cyclone,” Rahman said.

Chittagong district administrative chief Farid Uddin Ahmed, overseeing the emergency response along the 300km southeastern coast, said rescue workers were still trying to reach remote areas.

“We are still waiting for final reports of damage. Some houses have been hit but overall the damage is minimal because the tide was low which meant the tidal surge was not too severe,” he said.

The port at Chittagong, the biggest in Bangladesh, reopened at midday yesterday, an official said, and fishermen set sail as rough seas subsided.

Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar airports were closed from Friday afternoon and 1,000 passengers were affected by the backlog when terminals reopened yesterday, Chittagong airport spokesman Kamrul Islam said.

In neighboring Myanmar, the military-run government’s meteorological service urged residents of the country’s western coastal region to stay away from the sea until Bijli had passed.

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