Upazila Nirbahi Officer Kamruzzaman said, “We are trying to evacuate at least 10 thousand people from this island. It is a challenging task as we have few hours to do it.”
The people of Gabura has had it twice in the past - Sidr in 2007 and Aila in 2009. Now they are preparing for another cyclone, the severity of which may surpass that of any experienced earlier.
Gabura is a small island in Shyamnagar upazila of Satkhira on the borderline of the Sundarbans. Flanked by two rivers, Kholpetua and Kopotakkha, the island has a 28-kilometre coastal embankment, which was devastated several times in the past.
And its around 30,000 residents live to the mercy of fate against tropical storms.
However, according to local administration, the neighbourhood had about 45,000 people before and the number has decreased due to their migration to other places.
Now they are preparing for the worst as another cyclone named Bulbul is heading towards the coastal belts of Bangladesh.
With the storm only 200 kilometres away from the shore of this tiny island, the people are getting ready to face the storm.
If it hits the island during high tide, it will create another havoc, they know.
How do they know it?
"If the storm hits during high tide, that causes tidal bore. That was what had happened during Aila, the intensity of which was lesser than that of Sidr. But it caused more damages than Sidr," Siddikur Rahman, a local farmer, was explaining the nature of the calamity to me yesterday.
"Besides, the severity and destruction depend on the duration of the storm," said Siddikur Rahman, another farmer, yesterday.
Now under the danger signal No. 10 and with mighty rivers all around the island, Siddikur is sure to have another bad day.
Only a day ago, the cyclone was 900 kilometres away. Now it has closed in to 200 kilometres, hovering over the Bay.
At Burigoalini river ghat, a mile away from the island, there were no boats to be found. All modes of communication have been suspended.
The 15 cyclone shelters of the island can accommodate only 15,000 people or about half the total population.
At least 10,000 people will need to be relocated to the mainland. Since morning, only 1,100 people have moved to the mainland.
The local administration is trying hard to make half of the people leave the island.
A number of navy, coast guard and policemen are trying desperately to evacuate the residents since morning.
Buses and other vehicles are on standby at Burigoalini to relocate them.
But, they are not willing to leave the place.
I have visited a number of houses near the embankment and found people staying at their homes. Some said they were preparing to go to the shelters while some other said they would take shelter in brick shops during the storm. They are quite aware of the intensity of the storm and know that it can hit very hard sometimes at midnight.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer Kamruzzaman said, "We are trying to evacuate at least 10,000 people from this island. It is a challenging task as we have few hours to do it."
Anisur Rahman Molla, officer in charge (investigation) of Shyamnagar Police Station, said, "We are forcing people to leave their homes. Some are not willing to go as they have belongings in their homes. We are forcefully evacuating them."