All out preparations to tackle Bulbul

The government has taken all out preparations to tackle the severe cyclonic storm ‘Bulbul’ that may hit the country’s southwest coast today (Saturday). All the southwestern coastal districts have taken all-out preparations and kept 1,377 shelter centres ready. Besides, the field administrations, along with Fire Service and Civil Defense, Ansar-VDP, Scouts and volunteers under the Cyclone Preparedness Programme have been kept standby to tackle any consequence of the storm.

Addressing a press conference at the Secretariat on Friday, Md. Enamur Rahman, State Minister for Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said the government has already started taking necessary steps to tackle the severe cyclonic storm. The press briefing was organised to inform the government preparations to tackle the severe cyclonic storm “Bulbul”.

“The cyclonic storm is likely to hit Bangladesh between late evening and midnight on Saturday,” he added. Enamur Rahman said, “The cyclone ‘Bulbul’ will cross the country over the night and the low-lying areas of the coastal region also will be inundated by storm surge of 5-7 feet high above normal astronomical tide.”

He said country’s southeast coastal districts like Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Barishal, Barguna, Patuakhali, Pirojpur and Bhola are apprehended to be affected by the cyclonic storm. The government has cancelled the weekly leave of all the government officials and employees at of southwest costal districts as part of the precautionary steps to tackle the cyclone, said the state minster said.

He said instructions have been given to open control room at upazila and district levels. The officials have been asked to make correspondence with the control rooms opened by the Disaster Management and Relief and the National Disaster Response Coordination Center (NDRCC). Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) on Friday suspended water transport services on coastal routes across.

Our Bhola correspondent reports, the sky was cloudy over the coastal district due to the cyclone 'Bulbul' originated in the Bay of Bengal. It started raining since Friday morning. At least nine control rooms have been opened in the upazilas and 349 public and private cyclone shelters have also been prepared.

The Meteorological Department said, the cyclone 'Bulbul' might hit the Sundarbans and Khulna in the southwest coast on Saturday afternoon. It also said the Cyclone Bulbul caused the sea to become turbulent. From 6 am on Friday. The Mongla Port authorities have been asked to show warning signal number 1. All fishing boats and trawlers staying in the Bay of Bengal have been asked to remain in safe shelters until further instructions.

After the emergency meeting of the District Disaster Management Committee held on Friday afternoon, Khulna District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Azizul Haque Jawardar said, all preparations had already been taken to counter the impact of Cyclone Bulbul and all activities have been completed. Besides, 28,060 CPP volunteers have been trained in coastal Dakop and Koira upazilas. Notably, during Cyclone Sidr in 2007, the wind speed was 223 km per hour.

Our Khulna correspondent reports, a preparatory meeting was held at the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Bhola Meteorological Office to deal with Cyclone Bulbul yesterday at 10:30 am. At the meeting, Deputy Commissioner Md Masud Alam Siddiq mentioned the weather forecast and said, ’Cyclone Bulbul, which is currently existing in our neighboring India, may hit southern districts of our country on Saturday. So in preparation, we have opened 646 shelters in Bhola district, 92 medical teams have been kept on standby, 8 control rooms including in Bhola Sadar have been opened and about 13 thousand volunteers from various volunteer groups, including Red Crescent and CPP are ready.’

He added, “We are making people of the coastal areas aware through mic announcements. We have warned everyone to stay alert and all fishing boats and trawlers are being taken to safety.” Regarding this, Bhola Deputy Director of the Cyclone Preparation Programme (CPP) Md Shahabuddin said, “We have not yet confirmed anything about the speed of Cyclone Bulbul, but since there is a possibility of it hitting the south coast of Bangladesh, we have 10,200 volunteers on standby and have completed all preparations to tackle the cyclone in Bhola district.”

In Satkhira, some slight drizzling has been reported in various areas of the district, including Shymnagar, as Ashashuni due to the cyclone. Ports were asked to hoist the cautionary signal number four. Satkhira Met Office official Zulfikar Ali Ripon said: "Cyclone Bulbul was lurking 575km away from the Mongla Port. It can cross this region on Saturday."

Satkhira Additional Deputy Commissioner Md Badiuzzaman said: "Around 137 cyclone shelters were established due to the storm. Apart from this, fishing boats were cautioned to not venture into deep sea." In Bagerhat, slight rainfall has been triggered by the imminent cyclone and the declaration of cautionary signal number four has postponed the Ras Mela, a religious festival of the Hindu community, in Dublar Char of the Sundarbans.

Confirming the matter to Dhaka Tribune, Ras Mela Celebration Committee General Secretary Pradeep Basu Shantu said: "Ras Mela takes place on the full-moon night of the Bangla months of Karthik or Agrahayan every year. The decision of postponing the celebration was made due to adverse weather."

In an emergency meeting held by the district's Disaster Management Committee, it was decided that all kinds of permits to enter the Sundarbans will be suspended for the time being. In Patuakhali, Payra port was advised to hoist the warning signal number 4 whereas the cyclone precipitated some small droplets of rain in some areas of the district.

Trawler Owners' Association President Mannan of Kalapara upazila said fishermen have started returning to shelter as the sea has become rough because of the storm. However, no accident has been reported so far. Patuakhali Met Office official Md Bashir Ahmed said the cyclone is likely to hit the region on Saturday midnight.

In Noakhali, the impact of the cyclone has left the sky cloudy and triggered rainfall in some parts of the district. Deputy Commissioner Tanmoy Das said: "Control rooms were opened in some of the coastal upazilas, including Subarnachar, Hatiya, and Companiganj after an emergency meeting this morning."

Noakhali Civil Surgeon Dr Mominur Rahman said: "We have kept enough medical teams ready for the impending cyclone." Subarnachar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) ASM Ibnul Hasan Iven said: "All fishing boats and trawlers have been advised to remain very close to the coast and proceed with caution so that they can take shelter within short notice."

The severe cyclonic storm Bulbul may affect the maritime ports, North Bay and coastal areas of Bangladesh. Notably, Cyclone Bulbul is likely to hit coastal areas of Bangladesh including Bhola, Patuakhali, Barguna, Pirojpur, Cox's Bazar, Chittagong, Feni, Noakhali, Chandpur, Khulna and Satkhira. Warning signal 4 has been raised in Bhola.