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Cyclone SIDR starts pounding on Bangladesh's coastline
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07:53, November 16, 2007

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A powerful cyclone with strong winds started pounding on Bangladesh's south and southwestern coast from Thursday evening.

Officials engaged in evacuation from remote offshore islands said winds with a speed of 100 to 130 kph started lashing their areas ahead of impending attack by the super severe Cyclone "SIDR".

The officials said the eye of the SIDR with a wind speed of 200-220 kph is likely to hit the coastal belt of Khulna and Barisal within hours.

Any severe damage to infrastructure or human casualty due to tempest was not yet received.

Southern Bagerhat District Police Superintendent Shahidur Rahman told Xinhua over phone Thursday that some places near southern Sundarban 's mangrove forest were experiencing a strong wind, which was gradually gathering intensity.

He said all preparations are in place and more than 5,000 people, mostly fishermen, in Dublarchar Island were taken to shelter centers. But they were in panic.

Another report from southeastern sea resort town of Cox' Bazar said the St. Martins Island in the Bay of Bengal was experiencing initial storms with a speed of 80 kph to 100 kph in the afternoon. At least 200 tourists including some foreigners were stranded at the St. Martin since Wednesday.

Earlier, the authorities in the country's 15 coastal districts deployed volunteers evacuating thousands of people from low-lying offshore islands to cyclone centers as Dhaka meteorology office issued danger signal no. 10 for seaports and coastal districts Wednesday evening.

Sea and airports in southeastern and southern port cities Chittagong and Mongla were shut down while waterway transport communications in the coastal districts were already suspended in view of the natural calamity.

Bangladeshi caretaker government chief adviser Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed, who is personally supervising the evacuation work, asked the administration to monitor round-the-clock the impact of the cyclone.

Source: Xinhua

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