Bangladesh on alert as cyclone approaches Bay of Bengal

The cyclone is likely to intensify further and move northwards till early morning of November 9

The severe cyclone is expected to make a landfall on the West Bengal coast this evening.

"The storm is expected to have a maximum sustained wind speed of 110 to 120 kmph, gusting up to 135 kmph, while crossing the coast", a senior IMD official was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.

It is set to reach wind speeds of up to 120km/h (75mph), with gusts of 150km/h, and create tidal surges in the sea and rivers when it hits the coastal regions, says the Bangladesh Meteorological Department.

Bangladesh troops were sent to villages to help with the evacuation. According to the NREC, about 2,500 have been evacuated in four districts Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak and Balasore and placed in 26 shelters.

"We have also started vacating houses and building in both residential and hotel situated close to the sea", the official said that all leaves of the officials have been cancelled.

Authorities suspended all activities in the country's main seaports, including in Chittagong, which handles nearly 80 per cent of Bangladesh's exports and imports.

The fishing operations have been totally suspended over Odisha-West Bengal coasts till November 10.

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Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr PK Mishra held a high-level meeting on Thursday with the Chief Secretaries of Odisha, West Bengal and Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, to review their preparedness to deal with the natural calamity.

Kolkata Airport also suspended its operations from 6 p.m. (7:30 a.m. ET) Saturday until 6 a.m. (7:30 p.m. ET) Sunday in anticipation of the storm.

Several ships from Bangladesh's navy and coast guard were kept ready in parts of the region for an emergency response, the TV station Independent reported.

With a strong cyclone approaching Bangladesh on Saturday, authorities used more than 50,000 volunteers and officials to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people to shelters across the low-lying delta nation's vast coastal region.

Bangladeshi passengers cover themselves with a plastic sheet and umbrellas as they cross the Buriganga River by boat during a rainy day in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 09 November 2019.

IndiGo airline on Saturday said it has implemented proactive cancellations and made alternate arrangements for its passengers in order to deal with severe cyclonic storm Bulbul, which is likely to make landfall between West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts by this evening.

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