Deadly Cyclone Bulbul weakens into depression over Bangladesh

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Cyclone Bulbul has weakened into a depression after killing at least three people in Bangladesh and two others in neighbouring India.

Officials in Bangladesh said on Sunday that the worst was over as the wind speeds dropped to between 70 and 80km/h (43 to 50m/h) with the depression lying over the country’s Bagerhat, Barisal and Patuakhali regions.

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Earlier, the weather office said Bulbul, a reformed version of tropical storm Matmo, slammed ashore at Sagar Island in the southern part of India’s West Bengal state.

Its path included the southwestern Khulna region, which has the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, straddling the Bangladesh-India border.

Those killed by the storm included 65-year-old Patuakhali fisherman Hameed Fakir, who authorities said had refused to flee to a shelter. He was killed on Saturday night when a tree collapsed on his thatched home.

Promila Mandal, who had spent the night in a shelter in Dakshin Dakop village of Dakop upazila in Khulna, returned home on Sunday but was killed when a tree crashed on her house.

Alamgir Hossein, 30, of Senhati in Khulna died while clearing the trees and other debris on Sunday morning.

Millions evacuated

More than two million people from all of Bangladesh’s 13 coastal districts huddled in about 5,558 shelters on Saturday night. On the Indian side of the border, more than 60,000 people were moved away from the coast.

About 1,200 predominantly domestic tourists were stuck at St Martin’s Island in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh, Enamur Rahman, junior minister for disaster management and relief, told Reuters news agency.

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Bangladesh’s two biggest ports, Mongla and Chittagong, were closed because of the storm, and flights into Chittagong airport were halted.

In India, flights in and out of Kolkata airport were suspended for 12 hours because of the storm.

On the West Bengal island of Mousuni, which was in the path of the storm, frightened residents took shelter in schools and government buildings because they had not been able to escape.

Military planes and ships have been put on standby to help in emergencies, Indian authorities said.

One person was killed by an uprooted tree in Kolkata and another by a wall that collapsed under the force of the winds in Odisha state, authorities said.

Death tolls dropping

Bangladesh’s low-lying coast, home to 30 million people, is regularly battered by cyclones that leave a trail of destruction.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in cyclones in recent decades.

While the frequency and intensity have increased, partly due to climate change, the death tolls have come down because of faster evacuations and the building of 4,000 cyclone shelters along the coast.

In November 2007, Cyclone Sidr killed more than 3,000 people. In May this year, Fani became the most powerful storm to hit the country in five years, but the death toll was about 12.

Deadly Cyclone Bulbul weakens into depression over Bangladesh

Cyclone Bulbul has weakened into a depression after killing at least three people in Bangladesh and two others in neighbouring India. Officials in Bangladesh said on Sunday that the worst was over as the wind speeds came down to between 70 and 80km/h (43 to 50m/h) with the depression lying over the country’s Bagerhat, Barishal and Patuakhali regions.

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