Amphan damages Sundarbans plants, infrastructure

Bangladesh forms four bodies to assess the extent of losses, suggest recovery plan

Amphan damages Sundarbans
File photo shows a wooden jetty in front of a forest office facility in the Sundarbans

Severe cyclone Amphan damaged natural plants and man made infrastructure of the Sundarbans as it passed through the world’s largest mangrove forest last night (Wednesday night).

Meteorologists said the cyclonic storm was packing maximum sustained winds around 160-170 km/h (100-120 mph) and gusts to 190 km/h (120 mph) as it roared ashore with Khulna, Mongla, Satkhira and the Sundarbans absorbing its main brut in Bangladesh part.

According to primary reports, more than 10 wooden jetties and 30 staff barracks were damaged while salted water entered into more than 60 ponds due to high stream of the sea, said Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin in a video conference on Thursday.
Among the plants, he said, Kewra sustained the biggest destruction.

He added that the broken trees won’t be removed as it (Sundarbans) would recover through natural process.
“Only damaged infrastructures will be overhauled and the salinity of the ponds will be removed. We will also excavate new ponds if necessary,” the minister said, adding that the damages could not be ascertained immediately.

However, four investigation bodies have been formed under the leadership of Range Officers to assess the devastation.

The committees have been asked to submit reports within three working days and necessary measures will be taken after getting the reports on the Amphan damages to the Sundarbans, said the minister.

However, thanks to the world heritage site once again as it considered saved lives and properties in a bigger way by resisting the severe storm after the similar ones in 2007 and 2009 when it stood as a shield between the habitants of the coastal areas and fierce winds.

The trail of devastation would have been much higher had the Sundarbans not there, experts said.

“The Sundarbans prevented huge damage from the cyclonic storm Amphan. It has saved us,” said a senior official at the forest division.

He said the Sundarbans has been saving us repeatedly from the adverse impact of the natural disasters like the cyclone ‘Amphan’. “The Sundarbans with its thick mangrove forest acts like a shield. It does not just help reduce the wind speed when storm moves through the delta but even help break the waves and the storm surge triggered,” he added.

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