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Latest: Cyclone Mora causes widespread destruction, loss of life

Heavy monsoon showers have killed at least 35 people in south-east Bangladesh, most buried under landslides, authorities reported Tuesday.

Police warned that the death toll would likely rise while emergency workers reached remote parts of the affected area, wherein telephone and transport links had been cut.

“The recovery work is still going on,” the head of the Department of Disaster Management Reaz Ahmed told AFP.

Most of the deaths occurred in two districts, Rangamati and Bandarban,  of which the meteorological office said had been pounded by heavy rains since early Monday.

Bazlur Rashid, a weather official, told AFP Rangamati had been pounded by 343 millimetres (13.5 inches) of rain on Monday.

“It is still going on today,” he said.

Heavy monsoon rains also pounded the capital Dhaka and Chittagong, a major port city, disrupting traffic movement for hours.

The latest disaster came after Cyclone Mora smashed into Bangladesh’s south-east, killing at least eight people and damaging tens of thousands of homes.

One senior police officer said four soldiers were among the casualties in Rangamati, where a number of tribal communities have been waging a two decades-long insurgency. (AFP)

A brief history

The deadliest cyclone on record was also recorded in Bangladesh which claimed somewhere in between 300,000-500,000 lives. This was the cyclone Bhola (1970).

To date, Bangladesh is frequently visited by devastating cyclones. This is a result of its unique geographic positioning. Bangladesh lies in an area called the Bay of Bengal which can be picturized as a funnel with the bottom (slim) end pointing towards the country. This makes all the press of the extended area (i.e. which is actually spread over all the area at the top, open and larger area of the funnel) to reach the country at forced high speeds. In technical terms, this can be referred to as ‘amplification of the storm surge’.