Cyclone Midhili leaves at least seven dead

A man stands next to his house after cyclone Midhili destroys it. The picture was taken from Al-Alim village of Hatia upazila, Noakhali on 17 November 2023.Prothom Alo

The cyclonic storm ‘Midhili’, which formed in the Bay of Bengal, swept over Barishal, Khulna and Chattogram on Friday, leaving a trail of destruction and killing at least seven people.

The cyclone destroyed houses, schools , vast swaths of cropland, as well as cut off power connections across the regions. It also uprooted a large number of trees in various areas, bringing a halt to communication on regional and local roads.

Besides, 300 people on 20 fishing boats remained missing in the sea since the cyclone hit the Bangladesh coast.

Cyclone ‘Midhili’ was crossing Bangladesh coastal on Friday midnight. As the cyclone weakened, maritime ports of Mongla, Payra, Chattogram and Cox's Bazar were advised to lower signal no. 3.

Seven dead

Four people of a family were killed after the mud wall of their collapsed amid heavy rainfalls in Moulvibazar area of Hnila union parishad of Cox’s Baza’s Teknaf on Thursday night.

The deceased were Awara Begum, 50, wife of Fakir Mohammad, the couple’s son Shahidul Mostafa, 20, and their two daughters Nilufar Yesmin, 15, and Sadia Begum, 11.

Quoiting locals, Hnila union parishad chairman Rashed Mahmud Ali said heavy rainfall had occurred since Thursday morning, but moderate to heavy rainfall continued after 8:00pm on Friday, and a four of a family were killed after mud wall of their house collapsed, which was adjacent to hill.

Besides, three people including a child died after tree branches fell on them during the storm.

The deceased were Abdul Wahab, from ward 5 of Magdhara union of Sandwip of Chattogram, minor girl Sidratul Muntaha, daughter of Anwar Hossain from Mahanagar area of Mirsharai, Chattogram, and Razzak Mia, a trader from Mirikpur of Baisail upazila, Tangail.

Crops damaged

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DEA) of Patuakhali, 180,000 hectares of Aman land were damaged across the district, which 75 per cent of the total Aman harvest. The cyclone also destroyed vast swaths of cropland, producing vegetables. Officials said it would be possible to assess the extent of damage in a day or two.

Barguna DEA deputy director Syed Zobadul Alam said they fear the cyclone has destroyed winter vegetables, but it has not possible to assess the damage as yet. Incessant rainfall also damaged winter vegetable, as well as paddy in Chandpur irrigation project and Meghna Dhanagada irrigation project.

According to the Feni’s agriculture department the cyclone damaged ripe Aman paddy on several thousand hectors of land and officials have been instructed to prepare the field reports.

Incessant rainfall also inundated rice seedbed on several thousand hectares of land in Bagerhat. DEA’s Bagerhat office deputy director Shankar Kumar Majumder incessant rainfall damage boro seedbed. Since there is still time, farmers can control the damage.

Communication disrupted

A large tree fell on the electric wires in Chandpur city, suspending movement of vehicles and trains in the area. Chandpur fire service station officer Morshed Hossain said trees also fell in Kachua, Shahrasti and Hajiganj upazilas and Haimchar, but no causality reported.

In Feni, a tree also fell on the Feni-Porshuram road near the Kazirbag Eco Park in Sadar upazila, suspending the roadway communication until Friday evening. Train movement was also snapped in Brahmanbaria for two hours.

Power outage

Cyclone Midhili broke electricity poles and severed power cables, causing power outages in various places. A tree was uprooted in Noakhali town, snapping the electricity wire. Bangladesh Power Development Board’s Noakhali executive engineer Habibur Bahar told Prothom Alo electricity wire were severed at various places, causing a disruption to power supply in the entire town.

According to Palli Bidyut Samity’s Borguna regional office, power lines sustained damages in 149 areas across the district and five electricity poles were broken. Officer Muhammad Asfa Uddin said power transmission line was also damaged, and power supply is likely to be restored on Saturday.

Power supply remained suspended in Moheshkhali and Kutubdia upazilas of Cox’s Bazar since Friday afternoon. Electricity poles were also damaged in Feni, disrupting the power supply.

Trail of destruction

In Noakhali, 30 mud wall houses and two education institutions were destroyed in Hatia and Subornochar uapzilas. Large numbers of trees were uprooted; aman paddy and vegetables were destroyed. A trawl carrying 25 sacks of paddy sank in Chatla, and certain Md Hanif, 60, died after tree branch fell on him in the area during the storm.

Hatia upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Suria Akter Lucky said they are yet to assess the extent of damages

Subarnachar UNO Mohammad Al Amin Sarkar said the Abdul Malek Ukil Private Registered Primary School in Char Jabbar union and the Saudagar Hat High School in Charbata union were destroyed completely. Besides, stormy wind also uprooted trees, as well as damaged paddy and vegetables while power supply were suspended acrss the upzila on Friday.

300 fishermen missing

A total of 300 fishermen on 20 fishing boat from Barguna remained missing in the Bay of Bengal since the cyclone swept over the coastal area. Barguna Fishing Trawler Owners’ Association Golam Mostafa Chowdhury said they could not communicate with those 20 fishing boats, but he heard several trawlers took shelter in the Sundarbans.

Tourists stranded in St Martin's Island

Movement of ship remained suspended from and to St Martin's Island for three days, leaving more than 400 tourists stranded in the island. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority’s Teknaf regional traffic supervisor Md Jahir Uddin said ships would be sent from Teknaf to bring back the stranded tourists stranded from St Martin's Island after the danger signal on weather is lifted.

Waterlogging in Chattogram

According to the weather office of Chattogram, 79mm of rainfall were recorded in the last 12 hours until Friday 6:00am, bringing the low lying area of the city including Badurtala, Bahaddarhat, Baripara, Kharampara, Khaja Road, Baklia, Rahattarpul, Chawkbazar, Ghasiyar Para, DC Road, Omar Ali Matubbar Road and Khatiber Hat under angle-deep water. Trapped water, however, receded in the afternoon after rainfalls decreased.

As the met office issued special caution alert 3, the Chittagong port authorities limited the release of goods at the port and stopped transferring goods at the outer anchorage. Port secretary Mohammad Omar Faruk told Prothom Alo ships sent to deep sea would return to port during high tide on Saturday.

Prothom Alo’s Staff Correspondent and Correspondents from the respective area contributed to this report.