A Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteer drowned Wednesday when a boat capsized while evacuating villagers in the path of Cyclone Amphan, the organisation said.
“There were four of them on the boat when it sank,” Nurul Islam Khan, director of the Cyclone Preparedness Programme of the Bangladesh Red Crescent, told AFP.
Amphan, one of the fiercest cyclones in decades, was due to make landfall late Wednesday afternoon with forecasts of a potentially devastating and deadly.
Authorities have scrambled to evacuate low lying areas in Amphan’s projected trail of destruction, only the second “super cyclone” to form over the Bay of Bengal since records began.
Bangladesh’s low-lying coast, home to 30 million people, and India’s east are regularly battered by cyclones that have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in recent decades.
Odisha was hit by a super cyclone that left nearly 10,000 dead in 1999, eight years after a typhoon, tornadoes and flooding killed 139,000 in Bangladesh. In 1970, Cyclone Bhola killed half a million.
While the storms’ frequency and intensity have increased — a phenomenon blamed partly on climate change — deaths have fallen thanks to faster evacuations, better technology and more shelters.
But Bangladesh authorities still fear that Amphan will be the most powerful storm front since Cyclone Sidr killed about 3,500 people and causing billions of dollars in damage in 2007.
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