Thousands return to flooded homelands
Tens of thousands of Bangladeshis have returned to wind-battered villages and rain-soaked fields after a strong storm pummeled the coast, killing at least 26 people over the weekend.
Authorities had ordered about two million people to be evacuated from coastal areas before Cyclone Roanu hit the port city of Chittagong on Saturday, but many ignored the call after deciding the storm’s winds, blowing at up to 88kph, were not such a threat. The low-lying delta nation has been regularly hit by much stronger storms.
Still, tens of thousands spent the weekend in cyclone shelters. Moheshkhali island council chief Mohammed Ullah said about 100,000 islanders returned to damaged and flooded homes yesterday, and many who lost their stored food supplies were struggling to find enough to eat.
“They have to start anew,” Ullah said. “Many are sur - viving on just dry food, as their homes were submerged.”
Local media reported at least 26 deaths caused by drowning or homes collapsing during the storm, though officials have yet to give a death toll.
Ullah said islanders on Moheshkhali were now in constant fear that a 28km stretch of mud embankment badly damaged in the storm will collapse and allow seawater to swamp their homes and fields.
Another 5,000 people in the village of Tajimuddin in Bhola district were also struggling to find enough to eat after the storm damaged their homes, according to the Daily Star newspaper.
With millions living along the vulnerable coast, Bangladesh has worked to improve storm preparedness and to issue evacuation orders.