Cyclone Ramal: Thousands flee as storm heads towards Bangladesh

Cyclone Ramal: Thousands flee as storm heads towards Bangladesh

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Thousands of Bangladeshis fled their coastal villages and moved inland to concrete storm shelters on Sunday, officials said, as the low-lying country prepares for an expected strong cyclone.

Cyclone Remal is set to hit parts of Bangladesh and neighbouring India on Sunday evening. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department has predicted high waves and storm surges of up to 130 kilometres (81 miles) per hour.

Cyclones have killed millions of people in Bangladesh in recent decades, but the number of superstorms hitting its low-lying, densely populated coast has recently risen sharply – from one to three a year – due to the effects of climate change.

“The cyclonic storm could cause waves up to 12 feet (four metres) higher than the normal astronomical tide, which could be dangerous,” senior weather official Muhammad Abul Kalam Malik told AFP.

Authorities have raised the danger signal to the highest level, warning fishermen not to venture into the sea and ordering those living in vulnerable areas to evacuate.

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