Cyclone Bulbul: Bangladesh evacuates thousands ahead of storm

The cyclone is likely to intensify further and move northwards till early morning of November 9

Earlier in the day, all flight operations were suspended at Kolkata airport till Sunday morning after almost 23 flights had to be cancelled from 11 am on Saturday due to rain and strong wind.

The cyclone, packing winds of up to 150 miles per hour, is set to slam parts of Bangladesh on Saturday, bringing with it destructive winds and a potentially devastating storm surge.

One death each has been reported from Bengal and Odisha due to heavy rain triggered by the very severe cyclonic storm Bulbul. "Orange Warning" has been issued for 9 and 10 November for districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur where heavy to very heavy rainfall is very likely to be expected at isolated places. People in low-lying areas were being evacuated to shelter homes.

Bulbul is likely to make landfall by Saturday evening around 6-7 pm, crossing Indo Bangladesh Border between Sagar Islands in West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh.

The MHA official said that 17 NDRF teams were deployed in West Bengal, while six of their teams were active in Odisha for dealing with contingencies. The fishermen have been advised not to venture into along and off Odisha-West Bengal coast till tomorrow.

There were reports of one death each in West Bengal and neighbouring Odisha. Personnel of the Indian Coast Guard are in all readiness to tackle any eventuality in the wake of cyclonic storm "Bulbul".

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The cyclone is expected to hit the coast of Bangladesh around 8pm (2:00 p.m. GMT), AFP news agency Shah Kamal, the country's disaster management secretary, said, adding that there were plans to evacuate about 1, 5 million people before that.

"We have also started vacating houses and building in both residential and hotel situated close to the sea", the official said that all leaves of the officials have been cancelled.

According to the disaster management division of the National Emergency Response Centre (NERC), restrictions on fishing boats' movement have been imposed till 12 November and all boats have been advised to return to the coast. "Be alert, take care and stay safe", she said.

All schools and Anganwadi centres remained closed for the day in Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Jajpur districts in view of the rough weather.

It said the southwestern Khulna region could be the worst hit.

The cyclone season in the Bay of Bengal can last from April to December.

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