Cyclone Bulbul has destroyed the standing Aman paddy and other winter crops in ten coastal districts of Bangladesh. Fisheries in the coastal districts of Khulna division have also suffered extensive damage.
Data from the Department of Fisheries shows that fish enclosures, ponds and fish fry of several species were destroyed in Khulna, known as the heartland of the country's aquaculture economy. Seventeen fishermen were killed and 18 were injured in Sunday's cyclone.
As many as 15,113 fish enclosures in ten Khulna districts were flooded. The initial estimated loss is 552 tonnes of fish of several species and 200 tonnes of shrimp.
Aquafarmers of Khulna division incurred a loss of nearly Tk22 crore.
On Sunday, cyclone Bulbul first slammed the southern part of India's West Bengal state and then moved to Bangladesh. Its path included the southwestern Khulna region, which has the world's largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, which reduced the impact of the cyclone.
Apart from the damage done in Khulna, Bulbul destroyed 1,444 tonnes of fish in Barisal and 5 tonnes in Chattogram. The initial estimated loss to fisheries and infrastructure in 13 districts in Khulna, Barisal and Chattogram stands at Tk47 crore.
Officials of the Fisheries Department say the figure may go up.
Fisheries Department official Umme Kulsum Ferdousi told The Business Standard that they plan to rehabilitate the aquafarmers. "It is an initial decision. We are yet to finalise it," she added.
Khulna's Dacope Upazila Nirbhahi Officer Md Abdul Wadud told The Business Standard that the cyclone caused extensive damage to crops and fish enclosures.
Satkhira's Deputy Commissioner SM Mostafa Kamal said, "Seven coastal upazilas including Shyamnagar, Assasuni and Kaliganj are the worst affected. Around 6,000 hectares of shrimp enclosures and crops on 22,000 hectares have been destroyed."
Meanwhile, the Department of Livestock Services said the loss of livestock in affected districts is around Tk59 lakh. Many cows, goats, sheep and chickens were killed in the districts during the disaster.
21.24% croplands affected in 13 districts
At least 21.24 percent of the croplands were affected in 13 coastal districts after cyclone Bulbul lashed the coastal belt on Sunday.
This year, the Aman paddy and different kinds of lentils and spices were cultivated on 12,99,273 hectares of land in these districts. Among them, crops on 2,79,003 hectares of land were damaged by the cyclone, including 2,70,229 hectares of Aman paddy.
The Aman paddy was cultivated on 12,31,160 hectares of land across 13 coastal districts this year.
The Department of Agricultural Extension said the cyclone damaged paddy fields in many areas and this can affect the Aman crop, which will be ready for harvest in the next fifteen days.
If the water that has accumulated in the fields due to the cyclone goes down within the next two days, the damage will be minimal, officials added.
Shah Mohammad Akramul Haque, additional director of the Department of Agricultural Extension, said water does not stay on cropland in coastal areas for long. We hope it will not cause too much damage. But it will lower the production in affected areas.