People from the coastal areas, especially from the most vulnerable regions – such as chars and lowlands in the country – are rushing towards cyclone centres as the powerful cyclone Amphan is set to strike Bangladesh tonight.
The administrations of coastal districts – including Khulna, Patuakhali, Barguna, Bhola, Pirojpur, Barishal, Satkhira, and Bagerhat – have already made preparations to face Cyclone Amphan.
The authorities are asking people to take shelter in cyclone centres and are providing them with masks, soap and dry food.
Razzak Miah, a resident of Southkhali union under Sarankhola upazila of Bagerhat, told the Business Standard, "I, along with my family members, have been staying at a cyclone shelter since Tuesday night.
"We will lose everything if the water level rises during the cyclone as we live in a lowland area," he added.
Younus Mridha, a resident of Chandradeep union under Bauphal upazila of Patuakhali, said, "We sheltered in a school in our union. There are now around 100 people here with me. Protecting ourselves is the first priority.
"We have been at the cyclone centre since the morning. We had devastating experiences during cyclones Sidr and Aila as we were affected severely. We are now more alert, but, at the same time, we are panicking," he said.
Salam Hawlader, chairman of Dhalchar Union Parishad under Charfassion upazila of Bhola, said, "The local administration has shifted 8,000 people from my union to the mainland. They are now at different cyclone shelters and other safe places.
"If Cyclone Amphan hits our area, there will be great losses. Our crops, houses and other assets will be badly damaged," he added.
Hashem Mohajon, chairman of Char Kukri Mukri union, told The Business Standard that they have alerted people about cyclone Amphan.
"The deputy commissioner of Bhola has asked us to protect the lives and assets of the people. We brought some people to the cyclone shelter and are trying to protect their property," the chairman said.
Responding to queries, Bhola Deputy Commissioner Masud Alam Siddique said, "I have asked the volunteers to send 200 people to a cyclone shelter while maintaining social distancing measures in a bid to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"A total of 668 shelter centres and 12,000 volunteers have been kept at the ready to tackle the cyclone in Bhola. The district administration has opened eight control rooms to monitor the situation," he explained.
Md Jewel, a volunteer of Red Crescent Society of Borhanuddin upazila in Bhola, said they have been alerting people to come to the cyclone shelters since Tuesday.
"People's responses are very positive. No fishermen went fishing after our announcement. The riverside villagers are also taking shelter in safe places," he said.
SM Mostafa Kamal, deputy commissioner of Satkhira district, told reporters that 1,800 cyclone shelters have been kept at the ready for the people.
"People have been coming to these shelters since the morning," he told The Business Standard.
Roby Khondoker, assistant commissioner (Land) of Mongla in Bagerhat, said the authorities have taken all preparations to protect the people from Amphan.
"A large number of people have already taken shelter in my upazila. We are providing them with masks, soap and dry food," he said.
The government has prepared around 14,636 shelter centres – where almost 24 lakh people can be accommodated – while the extremely severe cyclonic storm has been approaching Bangladesh's coastline.
State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Enamur Rahman made the remark, at an online briefing on Wednesday, while providing an update on the latest situation and preparedness to tackle cyclone Amphan.