Transforming into a very severe cyclonic storm, Yaas is heading to Odisha in India. The cyclone may make a landfall hundreds of kilometres away from the Bangladesh coast, but the coastal districts will face heavy to very heavy rainfall and inundation due to high tide during the passage of the storm, said sources.
The cyclone was advancing at 17 kilometre per hour (kmph) to Paradip, a coast of Odisha, on Tuesday. Previously, it was moving at 4kmph on Monday.
Yaas was 200km south southeast from Paradip at 5pm on Tuesday. The cyclone is very likely to make landfall in between Paradip coast of Odisha and Digha coast of West Bengal, said India Meteorological Department.
According to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), the coastal districts of Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Jhalokathi, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barishal, Bhola, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur and Chattogram and their offshore islands and chars are likely to experience wind speed up to 8o-1ookmph in gusts and squalls with heavy to very heavy rainfall.
All these districts are likely to be inundated by a tidal surge of 2-4 feet height above normal astronomical tide, the BMD forecasted.
Rainy weather will prevail all across the country today. According to the BMD, heavy to very heavy rainfall and thunder showers accompanied by temporary gusty and squally wind is likely to occur at most places over Dhaka, Khulna, Barishal, Rajshahi and Chattogram divisions and at many places over Rangpur, Mymensingh and Sylhet divisions. Temperature may fall by 2-3 degrees Celsius and the heat wave may abate.
Different low lying areas of Bhola, Barguna and Satkhira were inundated by the extra height of tidal surge by Tuesday noon. Tidal water already reached at least 80,000 households of Bhola and inundated some areas of Barguna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) ordered all vessels to stay in a safe place until further direction comes. The maritime ports have been advised to keep hoisted distant warning signal number three and advised them to stay in a safe place.
Maximum sustained wind speed within 74km of the very severe cyclone centre is about 120kmph rising to 140kmph in gusts and squalls. Sea will remain very high near the very severe cyclone centre, said the BMD.
It was centred at 6pm Tuesday about 535km southwest of Chattogram port, 505km southwest of Cox's Bazar port, 390km south-southwest of Mongla port and 390km south-southwest of Payra port.
West Bengal will avoid a direct hit, but East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Jhargram, Bankura and Purulia districts falling within the core area of Yaas are likely to be severely affected. Around 9,00,000 people were taken to the shelter centres in West Bengal, reported the Indian media.
Preparation for supplying dry food, clean water, electricity
In a preparatory meeting organised by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives on Tuesday, the chief engineer of the Department of Public Health Engineering said water was not available in tube wells in some areas of Khulna, Satkhira, Pirojpur, Patuakhali and Gopalganj. These areas could face a drinking water crisis if the storm hits.
As a precautionary measure, three treatment plants have been prepared to overcome the crisis. Five lakh purification tablets, 2,000 jerry cans and 1,000 buckets with taps have been distributed in each district.
Md Abdur Rashid Khan, chief engineer of Local Government Engineering Department, said, "To ensure that the emergency communication system is not shut down, all concerned have been instructed to clear the roads immediately if uprooted trees or broken branches block them."
Khulna Wasa Managing Director Md Abdullah said the required number of generators have been kept ready to keep the power supply normal. The mayors of Khulna, Barishal and Chattogram have said they will set up a control room and provide round-the-clock supervision.
Deputy commissioners of Satkhira, Bhola, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Khulna, Barisal, Bagerhat and Barguna districts said the required number of shelters have been set up in each district. Baby food, cow food, dry food and water purification pills will not be a problem there. Adequate amounts of these relief items have been sent to the upazilas and union levels. The required number of volunteers is also ready.
Due to high tides two and a half to three feet higher than normal, the water started entering the locality by crossing the dam of Kopotakkho River at Nebugunia area of coastal Gabura union at Shyamnagar upazila of Satkhira around 12 noon on Tuesday.
The villagers have temporarily handled the problem by putting soil where the dam broke open. Water overflowed at four points in Gabura Union.
GM Masudul Alam, chairman of Gabura Union Parishad, said water started entering the locality on Tuesday noon after overflowing at four points over the dam Nebugunia area. The tidal waters of the Kopotaksh River have risen.
The dam is in a very risky condition. As the ebb started at noon, this time the locality was saved. It cannot be said now what would happen during the next tide.
Shyamnagar Upazila Nirbahi Officer ANM Abujar Ghiffari said there are 43 risky points in the dam in the coastal area. The Water Development Board has been directed to repair the dam.
The rivers of Bhola have become turbulent due to the effect of cyclone Yaas, the water level has increased by 4 feet more than normal. Gusty winds and drizzle started.
As an impact of the cyclone, the water flooded the Dhalchar Union of Char Fashion upazila of Bhola, with tidal water entering the homes of 15,000 homesteads of the locality. Around 22,000 families have been affected by the flood at Char Kuklri Mukri. Char Nizam also went under water. Out of 150,000 homesteads of Monpura upazila, 50,000 were flooded.
Tidal waters in the rivers of Barguna flowed 77cm above the danger level, flooding localities on the river banks at Paschim Gulbunia, Baraitola and Dhalvanga areas. Thousands of people have been stranded. Several ponds have been reported to be flooded. Water flooded the areas due to low height of embankments as well as damaged and fragile embankments. The 29km dam in the district is at risk.
Barguna Deputy Commissioner Habibur Rahman said, "There are 805 kilometres of embankments in the district. I have asked the Water Development Board to be ready for immediate repair in case of any damage."
Strong winds were blowing at a speed of 35-40kmph in the coastal areas of the district including Mongla. Besides, strong gusty winds were blowing at a speed of 10-12kmph in Khulna. It is raining intermittently which will continue Wednesday and Thursday.
Khulna District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Azizul Haque Joarddar said the Khulna district administration has set up 1,048 shelters and 116 medical teams to deal with the possible damage caused by cyclone Yaas. Five lakh people will be able to stay in the shelters.
Low-lying areas of Noakhali's island upazila Hatia were flooded on Tuesday afternoon due to abnormal tidal waters. Livestock have been evacuated from flooded areas to nearby shelters and high places.
Water level in the Meghna River rose 4-5 feet above normal. Wards 1 and 2 in Char Ishwar Union have been submerged under 3-4 feet high tides.
Besides, Medina village, Bandakhali village, Munshi village, Mollah village, Adarshagram and wards 1,2,34 of Nijhumdwip union have also been flooded.
Nijhumdwip union Awami League general secretary Dinaj Uddin said, "Around 50,000 people are stranded. Fishes in the ponds have been washed away. Crops of agricultural land have been destroyed."
Hatia upazila CPP Officer Badiuzzaman said the tidal water has increased more than normal due to the combination of the effects of cyclone Yaas and the effects of the full moon. The water is likely to rise further in the night tide.
According to the upazila administration, 177 CPP units and 182 government shelters have been set up in Hatia to deal with the cyclone and keep people safe.
The water of the rivers in Bagerhat flowed slightly above the danger level, flooding about 1,000 households in the lower part of Bogi village and Sarankhola Char village of Sarankhola upazila. Water has entered Moralganj upazila Health Centre building and upazila food warehouse. Our correspondent said that even if the tide goes down, the water may rise more at high tide.
According to the Barisal Deputy Commissioner, 316 shelters have been set up and 655 educational institutions have also been kept ready. Around 55,000 people and 35,000 cattle can be kept there.