Cyclone Mora pounds Bangladesh coast, damage reported

A tropical storm lashed southern Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing at least three people and destroying thousands of poorly built homes in some remote islands in the Bay of Bengal, officials said.

The Meteorological Department of Bangladesh has advised all fishing boats and trawlers to not venture out into the North Bay of Bengal and to remain in the shelter of harbours till further notice, according to the Indian Express.

The airports of Chittagong and Cox's Bazar have also been closed; Cox's Bazar indefinitely and Chittagong's Shah Amanat International Airport until at least 2 p.m.

One child died in Bhola district while moving into a cyclone shelter while a woman died of a heart attack during the storm.

Another refugee, Ali Zahar, said roofs had been blown off houses, a school and the office of the camp where he lived.

Shamsul Alam, a Rohingya community leader, told Reuters that damage in the camps was severe with nearly all the 10,000 thatched huts in the Balukhali and Kutupalong camps destroyed.

Large camps have been set up in Cox's Bazar for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have fled violence in Myanmar.

The authorities have evacuated more than 300,000 people from different parts of the coastal and low-laying areas of the coastal districts by Monday night ahead of the cyclone.

While briefing reporters at the ministry, Additional Disaster Management and Relief Secretary Golam Mostafa on Wednesday said six people were killed and 61 others injured by the cyclone that swept 106 unions of 31 upazilas in 16 districts.

Indian Navy ship Sumitra rescued 27 people who were found adrift at sea over 100 miles away from Bangladeshi city of Chittagong, Indian Navy Spokesperson Captain D K Sharma said.

When contacted, a United Nations official working with Rohingya refugees said the damage in the camps could not be assessed instantly.

"There isn't a single refugee home that hasn't had its roof blown off", said Mohammad Imran, a Rohingya who lives in a makeshift camp in Kutupalong, in Cox's Bazar district.

An estimated 75,000 Muslim Rohingyas are believed to have fled to Bangladesh since the Burmese army launched an operation in response to insurgent attacks in October previous year.

"The winds are strong and people there live in flimsy structures, so we're anxious".

  • Leroy Wright