Bangladesh braces for Amphan as cyclone approaches amid coronavirus crisis

If it maintains its current trajectory, the cyclone may hit the coastal districts around the dawn of May 19, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman said on Sunday after a virtual meeting at the Secretariat.

Cyclone shelters are being prepared so that evacuees may maintain physical distance. People will be moved there if the cyclone’s arrival appears imminent, the state minister said.

“We have instructed the DCs (deputy commissioners) in the coastal districts to prepare an additional number of shelters so that people can take shelter there maintaining social distancing measures,” State Minister Enamur said.

The shelters are being supplied with sufficient dry foods and food for cows to avoid a food crisis there. Authorities have been asked to set up an alternative power source in case of power cuts in the shelter homes.

Bangladesh raised the storm alert to local cautionary signal No. 4, as Cyclone Amphan moved further to the north-west on Saturday.

Disaster Management and Relief Secretary Md Shah Kamal said shifting people along the coasts to shelters will begin once the Met Office raises the storm alert at least to signal No. 5.

All preparations are being taken ‘following the health safety guidelines’ amid the coronavirus outbreak. A meeting was held on May 15 with 19 deputy commissioners of coastal areas, including those from Chattogram, Barisal and Khulna, he told bdnews24.com.

The cyclonic storm intensified gradually and is moving towards the bay of West Orissa and West Bengal in India, meteorologists at the Met Office said on Sunday morning.

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