The coastal areas of Khulna division are at high risk, Barishal at medium risk and Chattogram at low risk
Even as Bangladesh grapples with the Covid-19 crisis, another natural threat looms over the coastal areas of the country.
The cyclonic storm "Amphan" has gathered strength and is likely to intensify into a severe one over the Bay of Bengal in the next 24 hours.
In the next few days, the cyclone is likely to cause heavy rain, flooding, storm surge and strong wind in parts of Bangladesh, Myanmar and India.
The Bangladesh Meteorological Department on Sunday advised the maritime ports of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Mongla, and Payra to hoist local warning signal number 4 as "Amphan" is likely to intensify.
However, a mild heat wave swept over the coastal districts including Khulna, Cox's Bazar, and Patuakhali on Sunday.
The district administrations of the high-risk areas already had emergency meetings. Decisions including setting up cyclone centres and recruiting volunteers had been taken there.
The Khulna district administration took the primary preparations to deal with the coming cyclone.
A meeting of the district administration and disaster management committee was held at 11:30am on Sunday at the conference room of the deputy commissioner.
The Upazila Nirbahi Officers were asked to open control rooms in nine upazilas of the district and keep 339 cyclone shelters ready.
"It is still business as usual at the Mongla Port. Seven ships are stationed at the port now," the Mongla Port's Harbour Master Commander Sheikh Fakhar Uddin said.
The district administration of Barguna had a preparatory meeting on Sunday to face "Amphan."
The decision of cleaning and readying 509 shelter centres came from the cyclone preparedness meeting, the district administration sources said.
And all the Upazila Nirbahi Officers, union parishad chairmen and members were instructed to enforce social distancing at the cyclone centres.
Also, 42 medical teams have been formed in 42 unions of the district. The civil surgeon of Barguna has been directed to arrange all the preparations for these medical teams.
As the maritime port of Patuakhali's Payra was advised to hoist the local warning signal number 4, an emergency meeting was held at the conference room of the deputy commissioner on Sunday to tackle the cyclone and cushion possible losses.
Different decisions, including keeping all the cyclone shelters ready in eight upazilas of the district were taken at the meeting.
Also, instructions were given to keep educational institutions ready to meet the demand for extra cyclone shelters.
The Satkhira district administration also made preparations to tackle "Amphan." A meeting of the district disaster management committee was held at 3pm on Sunday.
Director General of the Department of Disaster Management Md Mohsin told The Business Standard, "So far three models had been tried to figure out the path of the storm."
"One model showed that the cyclone might hit India's northwest area first. But another model shows that it might hit our country first too. However, it is still almost 1,250 kilometres away.
"The whole coastal belt of Satkhira and Cox's Bazar faces a high risk of Amphan.
"We already prepared all school and colleges. We prepared the shelter centres in a way that can ensure proper social distancing, fasting facilities and baby food arrangement."
"We have 4,000 shelters centres and also all the school and colleges of 17-18 districts ready for the coming storm."
"The cyclone, which is moving in a north and northwest direction, may hit Khulna and its nearby areas," Water Resources Secretary Kabir Bin Anwar said during an emergency meeting at the Ministry Of Water Resources on Sunday.
"However, depending on its speed and course, the cyclone could also hit Odisha and West Bengal coasts of India."
Kabir Bin Anwar also said, "The cyclone condition is being monitored continuously."
"Even if the cyclone does not strike, there is a chance of heavy rainfall, high tide, and high-velocity wind in several coastal districts. So I request all the authorities to take the necessary preparations to ride out the storm."
The coastal areas of Khulna division are at high risk from the cyclone, Barishal at medium risk and Chattogram at low risk.
At 3:00pm on Sunday the storm's distance was about 1,325km South-Southwest of Chattogram Port, 1,260km South-Southwest of Cox's Bazar port, 1,250km South-Southwest of Mongla Port, and 1230km South-Southwest of Payra Port.
Maximum sustained wind speed within 54km of the cyclone centre was about 62kph, rising to 88kph in gusts, making the sea very rough near the centre.
"Amphan" is likely to cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Sagar Islands in West Bengal and Hatiya Islands in Bangladesh between the afternoon and evening of May 20 as a very severe cyclonic storm.
At this time, the maximum wind speed within the centre of the cyclone could be 200km per hour.