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Cyclone Remal updates: Bangladesh and India deeply affected by cyclone

The casualties include one dead in Kolkata and millions without power.

Strong winds and heavy rain hammered the coastal districts of Bangladesh and India as severe cyclone Remal made landfall late on Sunday, leaving millions without power after power poles collapsed and trees were uprooted by gusty winds.

The storm passed across the coastal districts of Bangladesh’s Mongla port and the adjacent Sagar Islands in India’s West Bengal state, with wind speeds reaching 135 kmph (84 mph), according to the India Meteorological Department.

The storm will gradually weaken into a cyclone in the morning on Monday before moving northeast and gradually weakening further, according to the IMD’s most recent meteorological bulletin. The landfall began around 9 p.m. local time in India on Sunday and lasted almost five hours, according to the regional meteorological office in Kolkata.

Police claimed one person was killed in Kolkata, a large metropolitan city, when concrete fragments fell on him during the storm’s height. Roofs of thatched cottages were blown away, and mud buildings were destroyed in both countries’ coastal areas while authorities waited to assess the full extent of the damage. Bangladesh and India’s low-lying beaches have seen regular severe storms in recent years as sea surface temperatures rise due to climate change. Remal is this year’s first cyclone in the region.

Bangladesh relocated over 800,000 people from the ports of Mongla and Chittagong, as well as nine coastal districts, to storm shelters beginning Sunday morning. Up to 110,000 people were also evacuated to shelters in India. Dhaka set up around 8,000 cyclone shelters and mobilised 78,000 volunteers ahead of the storm, while the Indian Navy claimed it has ships, aircraft, divers, and medical supplies ready for deployment if needed.

While early warnings and prompt evacuations enabled both countries to avoid serious casualties, the storm had a significant impact on electricity infrastructure. Bangladeshi authorities shut down electricity supplies to many regions ahead of time to minimise accidents, but several coastal towns were left in the dark when fallen trees and broken cables disrupted service, according to power ministry officials.

During the first hour of the storm, there were reports of at least 356 uprooted electricity poles and damage to scores of transformers, according to Arup Biswas, the West Bengal government’s minister for power. More than 50 international and domestic flights in Kolkata had to be cancelled when operations were paused at midday on Sunday. Bangladesh likewise halted operations at the Mongla and Chittagong ports.

River embankments in India and Bangladesh’s Sundarbans delta, the world’s biggest mangrove forest, were also severely damaged, with high tides breaching protection embankments in numerous locations.

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The cyclone also brought torrential rains to Bangladesh’s metropolis, Dhaka, flooding roadways and severely affecting commuters.

Video credit: Global News

Cyclone Remal updates: Bangladesh and India deeply affected by cyclone

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