Bangladesh Saw 28 Deaths Millions Without Power Due to Cyclone

Four missing crew members of a dredger boat were discovered dead by Bangladeshi rescuers on Wednesday, bringing the total number of Cyclone Sitrang fatalities to 28, officials said.

Cyclones, which are similar to hurricanes in the Atlantic and typhoons in the Pacific, are a common threat to the area, but scientists believe that climate change is likely making them more violent and frequent.

On Monday, Cyclone Sitrang made landfall in southern Bangladesh, but authorities were able to evacuate around a million people in advance of the catastrophic storm.

With winds of 80 kilometres (55 miles) per hour, it still left a trail of devastation in the country’s densely populated, low-lying coastal region, which is home to tens of millions of people.

The government said nearly 10,000 tin-roofed homes were either “destroyed or damaged” and crops on large swathes of farmland were wrecked at a time of record-high food inflation.

Fire department divers found the bodies of four crew of a dredger boat that sank during the storm in the Bay of Bengal.

“We found one body on Tuesday night and three more this morning. Four crew are still missing,” Abdullah Pasha from the fire department told AFP.

Nearly five million people were still without power on Wednesday, Rural Electrification Board official Debashish Chakrabarty told AFP.

Nearly a million people who were evacuated from low-lying regions have now returned to their homes.

Trees were uprooted as far away as the capital Dhaka, hundreds of kilometres from the storm’s centre.

Heavy rains lashed much of the country, flooding cities such as Dhaka, Khulna and Barisal — which took on 324 millimetres (13 inches) of rainfall on Monday.

The controversial relocation of 33,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar from the mainland to an island that is prone to storms was ordered, but there were no reports of casualties or property damage, according to officials.

Better forecasting and more efficient evacuation preparation have significantly decreased the number of fatalities from such storms in recent years.

The deadliest reported event occurred in 1970 and killed thousands of people.

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