Cyclone Sitrang Showing Its Devastating “Rang”

Mass evacuations before Cyclone Sitrang made landfall on the west coast helped save lives but the full extent of the casualties and damage would only be known after communications are restored.

Most fatalities were caused by trees falling and crushing individuals.

At least eleven people were killed, homes were destroyed, trees were uprooted, and electricity and communication links were disrupted on Tuesday when a cyclone raced into the shore of Bangladesh, according to officials.

Prior to Cyclone Sitrang making landfall on the west coast, there were widespread evacuations that helped save lives. Officials warned that the full magnitude of the casualties and damage wouldn’t be known until after communications have been restored but so far 11 are dead.

Low-lying coastal settlements were inundated as the cyclone struck the Bay of Bengal early in the day with gusts of 88 km/h (55 mph) and a storm surge of about 3 m (10 ft.).

Officials claim that the power and telephone services have been mostly cut off to coastal communities, leaving them in total darkness.

Most fatalities were caused by trees falling and crushing individuals.

In the southeast of Bangladesh, where over a million ethnic Rohingya refugees from neighboring Myanmar are housed in inadequate shelters, no significant damage was reported.

Nearly 33,000 Rohingya refugees who have relocated from the camps to a Bay of Bengal island prone to flooding were told by officials to remain inside.

Heavy rain fell on the streets of the capital, Dhaka, causing some flooding and disruption to commuters.

The cyclone also affected the eastern Indian state of West Bengal.

South Asia has experienced increasing extreme weather in recent years causing large-scale damage.

Environmentalists warn that climate change could lead to more disasters, especially in places like densely populated Bangladesh.

Farah Kabir, Bangladesh country director of Action Aid group, said 2022 had seen climate emergencies such as floods and droughts “on a scale that has never been witnessed before”.

“The climate crisis is growing, and here in Bangladesh we feel its ferocity,” he said.

“Communities are devastated when severe weather disasters like Cyclone Sitrang strike. Access to funding for communities dealing with the effects of the climate catastrophe is urgently needed.”