Cyclone Midhili has lashed Bangladesh’s coast with ‘weak’ winds, but caused significant harm, killing at least seven people and destroying scores of homes
It also damaged crops with driving rain at the onset of winter, disrupted transport and knocked off power in many areas after making landfall on Friday afternoon.
The deaths were caused by wall collapse or fallen trees, which also halted traffic in some areas.
In Brahmanbaria, a tree felled by wind gusts on railway tracks led to a two-hour suspension of train services on the routes from Dhaka to Chattogram, Sylhet and Noakhali for two hours in the evening.
In the wee hours of Friday, four members of a family died after a wall of their mud house collapsed at Hnila in the Teknaf Upazila of Cox’s Bazar district.
The victims of the incident are Anwara Begum, 50, her son Shahidul Mostafa, 20, and daughters Nilufa Yasmin, 15, and Sadia Begum, 11.
In Chattogram, a 72-year-old man identified as Abdul Wahab from Magdhara Union in Sandwip died after being hit by a fallen tree branch in the afternoon.
Sidratul Muntaha Arya, a 4-year-old girl died in a similar incident in the Jorarganj Union of Mirsharai Upazila in the district.
In the central region of the country, a trader named Abdur Razzaque, 40, died after a tree branch fell on him in Tangail’s Basail.
The authorities made announcements through loudspeakers in the coastal districts to alert residents to the dangers of the storm.
More than 25,000 people were evacuated to storm shelters in the vulnerable areas.
Bangladesh Meteorological Department advised the fishing boats and trawlers to remain in shelter until further notice, but 20 trawlers with more than 300 fishermen had ventured into the sea before the storm. They did not return until night.
Half of Barishal city lost power when strong wind felled trees on electricity lines. Power started to return in the evening.
Many areas of the city went under water after incessant rain under the influence of the storm.
Officials in Patuakhali said the storm destroyed more than 130 houses and damaged Aman paddy. Farmers in the district have planted Aman in over 191,000 hectares of land this season.
Besides damaging homes and crops, the cyclone disrupted power supply to vast swathes of Noakhali.
Md Zakir Hossain, a general manager at Noakhali Palli Bidyut Samity, said their workers could not start repairing the damaged lines because of strong wind.
Crops and power lines were also damaged in Pirojpur, Jhalakathi and Bagerhat.
A ship carrying 800 tonnes of coal sank in the Pasur River near Mongla Port in Bagerhat amid rough weather during the storm.