Sundarbans weathered much of Bangladesh from Cyclone Amphan, but at a great cost

  • Khulna Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-05-26 04:20:17 BdST


Cyclone Amphan that cut a punishing path through Bangladesh has caused the Sundarbans three times as much damage as Cyclone Bulbul did last year, authorities say.

The monster storm felled more than 12,350 trees of the delicate forest, according to the summary of findings by four Forest Department committees formed to fathom enormity of the damage caused by Amphan.

It made landfall in Indian coasts near the world’s largest mangrove forest on May 20 afternoon before devastating Bangladesh coasts overnight.

The storm left at least 23 people dead, mostly hit by fallen trees. More than half of the 160 million people of the country were without electricity after the devastation. It has also flooded huge swathes of land in the coastal districts.

Experts say the damage and casualties would have been far more greater if the forest had not bulwarked Bangladesh taking the initial impact on itself.

The Forest Department suffered a loss of at least Tk 21.5 million as the storm damaged its infrastructure.

Bulbul, which struck on Nov 10, 2019, felled nearly 4,600 trees of the forest and caused a Tk 6.2 million in loss to the Forest Department.

A decade ago, Cyclone Sidr brought more destruction to the Sundarbans and the coastal districts, but the forest was able to recuperate the losses, forest officials say.

“It will make up for the losses again if it gets time,” Khulna Forest Conservator Md Moyeenuddin Khan told reporters on Monday.

According to the reports submitted on Sunday, most of the trees that fell during Amphan were Goran.

Forest Department’s structures, jetties, wooden trails, watch towers and other infrastructure were damaged. Storm surge washed away some seized logs.

The officials could not assess the impact of the storm on wildlife, including Royal Bengal Tigers.