20 dead as tornado rips through BrahmanbariaMohiuddin Alamgir and Kazi Hannan Khadem
At least 20 people were killed as a tornado ripped through 15 villages at Akhaura, Bijoynagar and in the Brahmanbaria district headquarters on Friday afternoon. More than 300 houses were damaged.
The death figure could be rising as several hundred people were injured, officials said.
The injured, sent to Brahmanbaria General Hospital and the upazila health complex at Akhaura, meanwhile, faced problems of treatment because of inadequate manpower and lack of seats in the hospitals, witnesses said.
The tornado whipped up roofs of more than 300 houses and blew over a large number of trees and electric poles.
The jail house in the district was also partly damaged. Standing crops were also damaged.
The tornado lasted several minutes. Some said that they had felt a wave of heat when the tornado swept over the area about 5:00pm.
Families were frantically looking for their members who went missing and survivors were shocked at what they saw around them.
The acting president Abdul Hamid and the prime
minister, Sheikh Hasina, expressed shock at the loss of lives and property.
They both asked the officials concerned to take necessary steps for rescue operation.
‘We felt a wave of heat sweeping over. I cannot explain what happened,’ said Abdur Rashid, who survived the tornado at Akhaura.
The deputy commissioner, Nur Mohammad Majumder, told New Age about 11:50pm that at least 20 people had died as tornado had swept over Akhaura, Bijoynagar and the district headquarters for about 15 minutes. He said that they were trying to get details.
He said that all the deceased were inhabitants of Akhaura and the Brahmanbaria district headquarters.
The local administration decided to deploy Border Guard Bangladesh personnel in conducting rescue operation and keeping law and order.
Local people said that several others had still been missing but alleged about 8:30pm that no rescue operation had been initiated till then.
Almost all areas of Bijoynagar and the district headquarters plunged into darkness as the power supply system broke down.
Railway communications on the Dhaka–Sylhet and Dhaka–Chittagong were snapped as the Bhatshal railway station was damaged. Bus service halted on Dhaka–Agartala Highway as the tornado blew over trees on the road stretch from Ramrail to Chinar.
The civil surgeon, Sarfaraj Khan, told New Age that physicians in the emergency ward in Brahmanbaria General Hospital pronounced at least five people dead after they had been taken there.
Three of them could be identified — Lovely Begum, 35, and Dolly De, 27, of Pattan of Bijoynagar, and the district jail keeper, Masudur Rahman, 25. The identity of the two others could not be immediately established.
The Akhaura upazila health officer, Shah Alam, told New Age that five people died in and on their way to upazila health complex after being wounded wounded in the tornado.
Two of them could be identified — Sumi Akhter, 10, and Joynal Mia, 32, of Jarambal in the upazila.
Health officials said that many injured in the tornado had been admitted to hospital and many of them were reported to be in a critical condition.
Witnesses said that many of the injured suffered for lack of accommodation in hospitals.
The deputy commissioner said that the government had already announced that families would be given Tk 20,000 against each of the deceased and Tk 5,000 and corrugated iron sheets against each of the people injured in the incident.
At least 20 people were, meanwhile, injured in Lalmonirhat as a tornado swept over 25 villages of five upazilas of the district on Thursday night.
About a thousand non-brick and half-brick houses were damaged. Trees, hoardings and electric poles were blown over on roads. Crops were also damaged.
The injured were admitted to health complexes and Lalmonirhat General Hospital.
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