UN teams are working alongside authorities and relief partners to assist communities battered by a tropical cyclone that lashed coastal parts of southern Bangladesh and eastern India.

At least 16 people are reported to have been killed as the region was hit by Cyclone Remal on Sunday evening, local time, bringing gales of over 110 kilometres per hour (about 70 miles per hour), torrential rain and storm surges that inundated low-lying areas.

Classified as a “severe” cyclonic storm, Remal is the first one to occur in the Bay of Bengal during the 2024 pre-monsoon season. The region witnesses several cyclones each year, and the frequency and intensity of these storms have been worsening due to climate change.

At least 150,000 houses have been partially or fully damaged in Bangladesh, and more than 25,000 Rohingya refugees sheltering in camps are at risk of landslides, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) office there.

The agency had teams on the ground since the beginning, supporting early warning and prepositioning supplies to enable a swift response in the aftermath of the storm.

“Through our initial response, UNICEF plans to reach people in the coastal region including Rohingya camps and Cox’s Bazar. Critical funding gaps remain across all sectors to meet the immediate needs of girls, women, and persons with disabilities,” Sheldon Yett, head of UNICEF in Bangladesh, said in a statement late on Monday.

With 3.2 million children estimated to be living in the affected areas – and the most vulnerable during disasters – “the priority is to protect lives and well-being,” he added.

“We remain committed to standing by the people of Bangladesh through this challenging time and providing all necessary assistance to help them survive and recover from the aftermath of Cyclone Remal.”

Other UN agencies for their part are also assisting with the response, including prepositioning emergency food, water, dignity-kits and other essential non-food relief items. They also identified potential buildings and communal spaces that could be used as shelters, helped early warning efforts and activated sector-specific teams.