As the Cyclonic storm ‘Mocha’ is brewing over the Bay of Bengal, panic gripped the residents of coastal areas of Bagerhat district due to the vulnerable state of dyke at several points.
Residents of Sharankhola, Baleshwar, Pashur in Mongla and Panguchhi in Morelganj upazilas are passing sleepless nights, worrying over when and where the storm and high tide will hit.
According to Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), Mocha is likely to make landfall on Cox’s Bazar coast by Sunday (May 14).
If the water rises 5 feet above normal, a number of villages will be flooded as 11km of embankment is at risk while around 25,000 shrimp enclosures may be washed away, said locals.
At least 446 cyclone shelters have been prepared in the district to accommodate people while 98% of boro paddy has been harvested in the district.
Around 11 km of embankment at different points is in vulnerable condition. Many villages in the district will be inundated if the tidal water rises.
Masum Billah, Executive Engineer of Bagerhat Water Development Board, said there are 340 kms of dam in the district and currently, the authorities concerned are repairing three km dam in Morrelganj upazila.
If the water rises above the normal tide, the vulnerable dams might break down and water can enter the locality, he said.
Meanwhile, the shrimp industry of the district may experience a huge loss as all shrimp enclosures could be washed away due to high tide.
During a recent visit to some shrimp enclosures, this correspondent found many farmers busy dumping soil along the enclosures and using nets to save their shrimps from being washed away.
ASM Russel, Bagerhat District Fisheries officer, said there are 73,000 fish enclosures and of these, 25,000 are in vulnerable condition.
However, advice was given to the farmers to surround the edge of the enclosures with netting at a height of 2.5 feet above the water and 6.5 feet above the ground, said Russel.
Besides, hearing about Cyclone Mocha, farmers have already harvested their boro paddy; 98% of the paddy have been harvested in the district.
Md Rafiqul Islam, deputy director of Bagerhat Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), said, “The boro paddy from the remaining 2% land or about 243 hectares, will be harvested within a day or two.”
Voicing concern, Rafiqul also feared that the cyclone may damage mangoes and that’s why he also asked the mango farmers to harvest the fruits from their orchards as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the local administration has kept 446 shelters ready to accommodate about 2,35,975 people.
Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Azizur Rahman said the local administration has taken all-out preparation to tackle the cyclonic storm Mocha.
A meeting, organised by the District Disaster Management Committee, was held on Wednesday where the authorities concerned decided to take all precautionary measures depending on the weather bulletin, he said.