Cyclone Remal floods 20 villages in Cox’s Bazar, over 6,000 in shelters

COX’S BAZAR CORRESPONDENT

Cyclone Remal, forming in the Bay of Bengal, has caused significant flooding in Cox’s Bazar, where tidal waters surged five to six feet above normal levels.

By Sunday afternoon, several low-lying areas were submerged, including Kutubdia Para, Samiti Para, Gomatali, Pokkhali, Islampur, and Maheshkhali-Kutubdia. The weather office reported a tidal surge of 6 to 7 feet in coastal areas by evening.

St Martin’s Island also experienced increased wind speeds, prompting authorities to advise residents to seek safety. Water levels in the Bay of Bengal rose, causing flooding in several villages on Saturday night. Announcements were made urging residents to move to shelters.

Mujibur Rahman, Chairman of St. Martin’s Union Parishad, stated that the water level in the Bay of Bengal rose with the tide, and high winds were still causing elevated sea levels. Announcements were made for island residents to move to shelters.

Tourists visiting the beach have been advised to stay safe. Beach workers, fire service personnel, and lifeguards are warning tourists through loudspeakers, although many are still attempting to enter the sea.

Yasmin Akhter from Shariatpur entered the water with her daughter. “I came to see Cyclone Remal with my daughter. The turbulent sea looks amazing. We’ve taken pictures and collected shells. This is my first time here during a cyclone, and it’s an incredible sight,” she said.

Abdur Rahim from Noakhali also visited Laboni Point with his family of 14. “The waves are scary, but we’re having fun. I didn’t know cyclones could cause such big waves,” he said. However, lifeguard workers stopped tourists from entering the water after 8:30 am.

Zainal Abedin, a worker from the Sea Safe Lifeguard organization, said a signal number 9 has been issued in Cox’s Bazar due to Cyclone Remal, making the sea turbulent. Red flags have been hoisted at every point on the beach, warning people not to enter the sea.

All flights at Cox’s Bazar airport have been suspended, and several points on the Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf Marine Drive Road are blocked by fallen trees, halting vehicular movement.

Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Shaheen Imran said 6,332 people have taken refuge in 638 centers. Food has been arranged for those taking shelter, and medical teams are on standby. However, many people are still reluctant to come to the shelters, observing the situation.

Volunteers are making announcements for residents of vulnerable areas, including Kutubdia, Maheshkhali, and Matarbari Deep Sea Port, to go to shelters. The district administration has made extensive preparations to deal with the impact of Cyclone Remal.

At 5 pm, a visit to the Municipal Preparatory High School shelter in Cox’s Bazar Municipality revealed that many people from Ward No. 1 had sought refuge. Among them were many women and children, some bringing livestock. Many complained that they hadn’t received any food since noon.

Acting Mayor Salauddin Setu said the municipality has opened 23 shelters and arranged night food for 6,000 people.

In Sadar Para of Ward No. 8 in Maheshkhali Municipality, water began entering the locality due to a broken embankment, causing extreme suffering for residents. Workers are continuously repairing vulnerable points of the flood control embankment.

Maheshkhali Municipality Mayor Maksud Mia said heavy winds and light rain started in Maheshkhali due to Cyclone Remal, raising the water level in the river. Many people have become waterlogged due to the broken embankment, and municipal staff are assisting them.

Maheshkhali Upazila Nirbahi Officer Miki Chakma said many points of the embankment have been broken, and repairs cannot be done as water has entered. The repair will be done when the tidal water recedes.

Assistant Meteorologist Md Abdul Hannan of Cox’s Bazar Meteorological Office said, “The impact of Cyclone Remal has already started. Tidal water is flowing at a height of 8 to 12 feet, flooding low-lying areas.”

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