Severe cyclonic storm ‘Remal’ made landfall on Bangladesh’s coast with strong wind and heavy rainfall. The cyclone began to make landfall on the Sagar Island, West Bengal-Khepupara, Bangladesh coast (Sundarvan Coast) at midnight of Sunday and it was expected to complete crossing the coast by 06 am (BST), according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD).

The coastal areas are experiencing heavy rainfall due to the influence of Remal. The maximum sustained wind speed within 64 kms of the severe cyclone centre was 90 kph, rising to 120 kph-in gusts or squalls.

Bangladesh has evacuated more than 800,000 people from the coastal areas. Bangladesh State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief, Md Mohibur Rahman, on Sunday said, “We have already prepared 8,000 to 9,000 shelters. Adequate dry food, biscuits, water and medical supplies have reached all the shelters”.

“The cyclone could unleash a storm surge of up to 4 m above the normal astronomical tide, which can be dangerous,” said a senior weather official. A large area of the Sundarbans was inundated on Sunday due to tidal surge under the influence of Remal, creating threats for different wild animals, including tigers and deers.

Over a hundred bodies of freshwater have also been inundated. The maritime ports of Payra and Mongla have been advised to keep hoisted danger signals, No. 10(R), said a special bulletin of the BMD.

The coastal districts of Khulna, Satkhira, Bagherhat, Pirojpur, Jhalokhati, Borguna, Barishal, Bhola, Patuakhali and their offshore islands and chars will come under great danger signal No. 10(R).

The maritime ports of Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram have been advised to keep hoisted danger signals, No. 9(R). The coastal districts of Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Feni, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Chandpur and their offshore islands and chars will come under great danger signal No. 9.

Under the influence of the cyclone, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Mymensingh, Dhaka, Khulna, Barisal, Chattogram and Sylhet divisions are likely to get heavy (44-88 mm) to very heavy (289 mm) rainfall with gusty or squally wind, said a special bulletin of the BMD.

All fishing boats and trawlers over the north Bay and the deep sea have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice. Due to very heavy rainfall, landslides may occur at places over the hilly regions of Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachari and Chattogram, said BMD.

Minister Mohibur Rahman said the authorities on Sunday launched an intensified evacuation campaign to take all vulnerable people to safety. BMD asked Payra and Mongla ports to hoist great danger signal No. 10, while it issued No. 9 for Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram ports on Sunday morning.

The Director General of the Department of Disaster Management, Mizanur Rahman, said alongside evacuation of the people, domestic animals have been taken to designated cyclone shelters. “A total of 8,464 cyclone shelters, including Mujib Kella, have been kept ready to provide refuge to the people living in 19 coastal districts, which might be affected by the cyclone Remal”, he added.

No classes will be held at schools in the coastal areas due to the cyclone, said  Rahman. “We have also kept 1,185 medical teams ready to offer urgent healthcare support to the people as cyclone Remal may hit the coastal belts of Bangladesh with massive strengthening,” Rahman said.

The leave of officials of all ministries, divisions and subordinate offices have been cancelled to tackle the possible aftermath of Cyclone Remal.

BMD added that some 8,600 Red Crescent volunteers and others have joined a campaign asking people at risk to move to safety alongside the government officials while the district administration mobilized transport to carry them to the cyclone shelters.