Cyclone “Rimal” threatens Bangladesh, India, prompting large-scale evacuations

(MENAFN) More than a million people in Bangladesh have been displaced from their coastal villages and inland areas as they seek shelter ahead of the anticipated arrival of Cyclone Rimal, a violent storm expected to lash the low-lying coasts of Bangladesh. Authorities have raised the danger warning level to its highest, urging residents to prepare for potentially catastrophic conditions.

Reports from Bangladesh indicate that Cyclone Rimal has already begun making landfall, with authorities warning that the storm could persist until the early hours of Monday morning. Maximum wind speeds are forecasted to reach 90 kilometers per hour, with the potential for gusts up to 130 kilometers per hour. Authorities have cautioned that the cyclone could trigger a storm surge of up to four meters above normal tide levels, posing significant risks to coastal communities.

In the midst of preparations, a tragic incident occurred as a crowded ferry, carrying more than 50 passengers - twice its capacity - capsized in stormy waters near the port of Mongla, located in the projected path of the storm. At least 13 individuals were injured in the accident, highlighting the dangers posed by the impending cyclone.

In response to the approaching cyclone, authorities in Bangladesh have taken precautionary measures, including the closure of three seaports and the airport in Chittagong, the country's second-largest city. Additionally, approximately 4,000 cyclone shelters have been readied along the country's extensive coastline along the Bay of Bengal.

Meanwhile, in neighboring India, tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated from vulnerable areas, particularly the expansive Sudarbans forests, where the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers converge with the sea. Calcutta Airport has been shut down from noon today until Monday morning, with authorities bracing for strong winds and heavy rainfall. Beach closures have also been ordered as the cyclone's path is expected to extend 220 kilometers from India's Sagar Island to Kibopara in Bangladesh. The concerted efforts of both countries aim to mitigate the potential impact of Cyclone Rimal and safeguard the lives and livelihoods of those in its path.



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