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2.19 lakh people evacuated from 15 coastal districts

Over 2.19 lakh people from 15 coastal districts of the country were evacuated until 5 pm on Monday while more were expected to take makeshift refuge in safe shelters overnight as cyclone Sitrang approaches Bangladesh’s southwestern coastlines, officials said.

“At least 219,990 people have been taken to cyclone centers in 15 coastal districts by 5pm today,” a Disaster Management and Relief Ministry spokesman said.

A joint secretary of the ministry, M Moniruzzaman, added that the evacuation process was underway to minimize human casualties as “we have kept ready 6,925 cyclone centers” expecting the last person exposed to cyclone dangers to take refuge there.

His comments came as coastal districts of Patuakhali and Barguna already started witnessing the impacts of the cyclone’s tip while the epicenter of the cyclone advanced further was located 170 kilometres south-southwest off Payra Seaport, 220 km south-southwest off Mongla seaport, 275 km southwest off Chattogram and 240 km off Cox’s Bazar.

Meteorologist Monwar Hossain said the meteorology department in its latest directive issued this evening asked the seaports of Payra, Mongla and Chattogram to hoist ‘danger signal no 7 and advised the Cox’s Bazar seaport to maintain the danger signal no 6.

“The cyclone has been approaching towards the coastline faster than its previous pace with wind speed at its core being 80 to 90 kilometres per hour . . . it may hit the coastline in Barishal region by midnight tonight,” he said.