DHAKA — Cyclone Roanu has battered the shoreline of southern Bangladesh on Saturday, leaving no less than 23 people dead in floods and rain-triggered landslides, police and officials say.
The cyclone damaged hundreds of houses in two impoverished southern districts, with many low-lying villages inundated by a storm surge that swelled up to two meters high.
Peripheral winds and heavy downpours brought on by the impending cyclone struck coastal areas early on Saturday morning, causing widespread devastation before the storm had even made landfall.
Authorities relocated more than 500,000 people into shelters as the cyclone made landfall just after midday (local time) on Saturday, packing winds as strong as 88 kilometres per hour.
“Seven people drowned at Banshkhali after the storm surge breached dykes at two places, inundating coastal villages,” Chittagong police inspector Shah Alam said.
Three people, including a mother and her daughter, drowned on Hatiya island after sea water flooded their village.
By early evening on Saturday, conditions appeared to be improving, paving the way for people to return to their homes, officials said.
“Up to 20 villages were flooded [in the area],” Hatiya police Chief Anisul Haq said.
“The flood water is now receding.”
A mother and her young child were killed after rains triggered a landslide which buried their hillside home at Sitakundu in Chittagong District, a police inspector said.
Others died on Bhola island and in Cox’s Bazar, Laxmipur and Patuakhali, officials said.
Disaster authorities shut down sea and river ports and ordered fishing trawlers and other boats not to go out on the water.
The Government’s meteorological department has warned of the risk of further landslides in the country’s south-eastern hill districts.
Two held on charge of girls trafficking
BETRAWATI— Police have arrested two persons for their alleged involvement in trafficking five adolescent girls aged between 13 to 16 — to India.
The arrestees have been identified as Nirmal Biswakarma (23) of Bheriganga Municipality-12 of Surkhet and Bikas Pyakurel (20) of Chaughada in Likhu Rural Municipality-4 of Nuwakot.
The Surkhet Police had arrested Biswokarma from his home while rescuing the captive girls on Friday and produced him before court on Saturday.
Likewise, acting on the statement of the captive girls, police arrested Pyakurel from Battar Bazaar, Nuwakot on Sunday.
According to District Police Office Chief Basanta Kunwar, a case related to human trafficking was registered against them on Sunday and investigation into the case was expedited from the Nuwakot District Court.
It has been learnt that the duo lured the girls, on their way to play Bhailo on Laxmi Puja, by promising them good jobs in India and transported them to Surkhet.
The rescued girls have been kept at a shelter of Women and Children Service Centre of Nepal Police.Follow @gorkhapost