Bangladeshi authorities on Tuesday raised to 14 the death toll from Cyclone Sitrang, which hit the Asian country’s coast last night, forcing the evacuation of more than 600,000 people, before gradually losing strength.

The cyclone hit the Bangladeshi coast early Monday night with winds of about 90 kilometers per hour and took about four hours to complete its entry into the mainland, meteorologist Bazlur Rashid told EFE. The cyclone was also accompanied by torrential rains.

“Now it has weakened … and is heading towards India’s Meghalaya (state),” he said.

In the district of Bhola, the most affected by the cyclone, five people died, local police chief Saifur Islam confirmed to EFE.

There, “four people were killed in different areas by felling trees, another body was found in a river, and we suspect he died in a shipwreck sometime during the storm,” he said.

In addition, a couple and their four-year-old son died in the western district of Comilla, the head of the local administration, Kamrul Hasan, told EFE, while Sitrang also left one dead in the capital and another five in various districts due to falling trees or sinking a boat.

Authorities evacuated a total of 605,615 people from nearly 7,000 shelters in coastal areas, with the help of 76,000 volunteers.

The Bay of Bengal is usually hit by cyclones between April and May, and October and November. In May 2020, super cyclone Amphan caused more than a hundred deaths between Bangladesh and India, in one of the worst natural disasters of its kind in years.

However, supported up to the minute by Indian meteorological satellites, India and Bangladesh managed to evacuate close to three million people in time, thus avoiding catastrophes like the one in 1999, when a similar cyclone hit Odisha and left more than 9,000 dead.

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