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Storms flood villages and trigger power cuts to millions in Bangladesh and India

At least 10 people have died.

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India Cyclone

The weakening tropical storm Remal flooded dozens of coastal villages and left nearly 30 million people without power in southern Bangladesh and eastern India.

At least 10 people died in Bangladesh.

About 3.7 million people along the coast were affected, said Bangladesh’s junior minister for disaster management and relief, Mohibbur Rahman M.

More than 35,000 homes were destroyed, and nearly 115,000 were damaged. Nearly 800,000 people were evacuated from vulnerable areas on Sunday.

Bangladesh, a nation of nearly 170 million people, has a history of violent natural disasters.

Disaster preparedness programmes have upgraded the capacity to tackle natural disasters, resulting in fewer casualties. Changing climate patterns have increased storms’ intensity, making preparations more urgent.

India Cyclone
Onlookers watch a raging Hooghly River with high wind in Kolkata, India, as rain continues after cyclone Remal made a landfall near the Bangladesh-India border (Bikas Das/AP)

Remal weakened after making landfall in Bangladesh’s Patuakhali district early on Monday, with sustained winds of 111 kilometres (69 miles) per hour.

India’s Meteorological Department said the weather was likely to weaken throughout the day but warned of heavy showers over Assam and other north-eastern states for the next two days.

India’s Kolkata airport reopened after being shut on Sunday. Bangladesh shut down the airport in the country’s second-largest city, Chattogram, and cancelled all domestic flights to and from the coastal district of Cox’s Bazar. Loading and unloading at Chittagong seaport was halted.

Heavy rain and winds battered the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka. Many roads were submerged. Authorities ordered all government officials to stay at their stations until the situation improved.

Aid agencies said they deployed thousands of volunteers in Rohingya refugee camps and other affected areas to provide emergency support. Bangladesh has sprawling camps housing more than 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in Cox’s Bazar.

In India’s West Bengal state, thatched roofs on houses were blown away, and electric poles and trees were uprooted in some coastal districts. Heavy downpours inundated streets and homes in low-lying areas of Kolkata. All schools in the region were closed until further notice.

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