Bangladesh evacuates 273,000 people as Cyclone Hamoon lashes Cox’s Bazar with deadly wind

The storm has lost strength but still hit the coastal district with 80 km per hour wind, knocking off power

Published : 24 Oct 2023, 02:26 PM
Updated : 24 Oct 2023, 02:26 PM

At least two people have died in Cyclone Hamoon that has pounded Cox’s Bazar with devastating wind of 80 km per hour, knocking off power in the coastal district after making landfall on the Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar coast.

The storm, which had strengthened to an extremely severe cyclone, weakened before the landfall on Tuesday evening. 

But it was strong enough to cause significant devastation and forced more than 273,000 people to leave home for shelter. 

The entire storm system completed crossing the coast near Kutubdia, Bangladesh Meteorological Department said in a special bulletin at 1:15am on Wednesday.

The coastal areas are experiencing heavy rainfall with wind gusts under the influence of the storm. 

Md Mizanur Rahman, director general of the Department of Disaster Management, said two people died after walls collapsed on them in separate accidents during the storm in Cox’s Bazar Sadar and Maheshkhali.

He said they received an unverified report of another death caused by the storm.

Md Humayun Kabir, assistant engineer at Power Development Board’s Cox’s Bazar office, said power supply stopped due to strong wind.

Golam Ahmed, general manager of Palli Bidyut Samity in Cox’s Bazar, said supply from the PDB stopped around 7pm as the storm uprooted trees that pulled down power lines.

The Palli Bidyut Samity’s power supply stopped after about another half an hour, he said.

“It’s total darkness in Cox’s Bazar now.”

Videos from Cox’s Bazar showed uprooted trees blocking streets and wind overturning an umbrella, making a panicked man run for cover.

In another video, an autorickshaw was seen being tossed in the air by the wind.

The authorities had initially planned to evacuate 1.4 million people, but 273,000 moved to the storm shelters, said Mizanur, head of the Department of Disaster Management.

Not all the coastal districts needed evacuation after the storm had changed its course, he said. Many of the evacuees also returned home.

After the storm crossed the coast, the Met Office lowered the danger signal for Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar from seven to three in the final bulletin.

Earlier, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority suspended river transports across the country because of squally weather.

Chattogram seaport also suspended operations, but Shah Amanat Airport in the port city continued flights normally.

Flight operations were suspended until 2pm on Wednesday in Cox’s Bazar as a precautionary measure.

Volunteers used loudhailers to alert people to the dangers of the storm in the morning and afternoon. 

The Fire Service and Civil Defence kept ready teams for search and rescue and first-aid.

The fire brigade requested all to contact it through the 16163 helpline for any emergency. The central monitoring cell can also be used to seek help at tel:01730336699.