Officials say ‘fragile’ dams caused deaths after Roanu hit Bangladesh

Officials say ‘fragile’ dams caused deaths after Roanu hit Bangladesh

Tropical Cyclone "Roanu" made landfall over the southern Bangladesh at 06:00 UTC on May 21, 2016. The storm brought very heavy rains and 88 km/h (54 mph) winds that caused widespread devastation. At least 24 people have lost lives, most of them washed away by the storm surge. More than 500 000 were evacuated before the landfall.

The southern city of Chittagong was the hardest hit. City's embankments were broken at two spots causing significant damage to property. 

Some 250 000 people were marooned on its coast as sea water ripped through dikes, flooding dozens of villages, government administrator of the district Mesbah Uddin told AFP. 

Thousands of others have been stranded in flood waters in Cox’s Bazar, Patuakhali, Lakshmipur, Feni, Barguna, Chandpur, Jhalokathi and Bagerhat.

Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya said Sunday their efforts could minimize the damage of the storm to a certain degree, but 'fragile dams let the storm surge kill people in the residential areas.' "So many lives, crops, livestock, farms, houses would not have been lost had the dams been built properly,” he said.

"So many lives, crops, livestock, farms, houses would not have been lost had the dams been built properly,” he said.

Chittagong Water Development Board engineer Bidyut Kumar Saha said together a 60-km (37.3 miles) stretch of dams in Sandwip, Nwara, Banshkhali and Patia was damaged by the surge.

"The dams in Chittagong were 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) high, but the waves flowed up to 7.5 meters (24.6 feet) during the storm," Saha said.

Featured image: Tropical Cyclone "Roanu" over Bangladesh on May 21, 2016. Credit: NASA Terra/MODIS

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