Dhaka, (Asian independent) At least 1.4 million people in the coastal areas of Bangladesh have taken refuge in storm shelters as super cyclone Amphan moved closer to the coast on Wednesday
Authorities are continuing to shift the local people to the shelters, said Kazi Tasmin Ara Ajmiri, Deputy Secretary in the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre.
Some people who came to the centres on Tuesday left for home as the storm has not hit the coast yet; they are being brought back to the shelters, she said.
“There are 1,364,000 people in the shelters as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday,” said the Deputy Secretary.
The Bangladesh Meteorological Department elevated the storm alert to great danger signal 9 for Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar ports as the cyclone was just 345 km from the country’s coastline, bdnews24 reported.
Mongla and Payra ports have been asked to keep hoisted great danger signal number 10.
The storm is expected to cut its path through the Bangladesh-West Bengal coast near the Sundarbans by Wednesday evening, according to the Met Office.
Last year, 1.8 million people were taken to the shelters ahead of cyclone Fani while another 2.2 million were moved to safety from the imminent dangers of cyclone Bulbul.
In Jhalakathi, almost 10,000 riverside inhabitants of Sugandha Char, Rajapur, Bishkhali and Nalchhiti have been evacuated to cyclone shelters.
Bagerhat, another coastal district, had more than 90,000 of its residents including children, senior citizens and specially-abled persons moved to 977 cyclone shelters as of Wednesday morning, said Additional Deputy Commissioner Md Kamrul Islam.
About 12,000 volunteers are working at the shelters where special emphasis is being placed on maintaining social distancing amid the coronavirus crisis.
The local authorities and the Red Crescent Society supplied food, safe drinking water and candles to the people taking refuge at the shelter homes.
Around 13,000 livestock have also been moved to safety as the storm approaches the coastline, said the additional deputy commissioner.