Bangladesh authorities have evacuated around 100,000 people from the country’s low-lying coastal villages and islands with Cyclone Bulbul set to slam into the country later on Saturday, officials said.
The Meteorological Department has asked local authorities and two ports to raise their highest alert, as the cyclone is expected to unleash a storm surge as high as seven feet (two metres) in coastal districts. Bulbul, packing a maximum wind speed of 120 kilometres per hour (75 miles), is on course to make landfall near the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, which straddles Bangladesh and part of eastern India and is home to the endangered Bengal tigers.
The cyclone is expected to hit the Bangladesh coast at around 8 pm (1400 GMT), disaster management secretary Shah Kamal told AFP, adding there are plans to evacuate some 1.5 million people before that. Authorities have suspended a nationwide school test, cancelled the holidays of officials posted in coastal districts and called off a traditional fair that draws tens of thousands of people in the Sundarbans.—APP