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The severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ is likely to hit Bangladesh on Friday evening as it is approaching towards the country, said State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Enamur Rahman. - A home for your website

The state minister said this at a programme at the secretariat on Thursday.

Khulna and its adjoining southwestern coastal areas will feel the peripheral effects of "Fani" by Friday morning, the Met Office says, advising Mongla and Payra ports to display danger signal number seven.

The very severe cyclonic storm was 915km southwest of Mongla port and 925km Southwest of Payra port at 9am on Thursday.

The coastal districts of Bhola, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars will come under danger signal number seven, the weather office said.

The maritime ports in Chattogram have been asked to hoist danger signal number six. This danger signal is also effective for the coastal districts of Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur and their offshore islands.

Meanwhile, the maritime ports of Cox"s Bazar have been advised to keep hoisted local warning signal number four.

"Fani" was centred about 1,065 km southwest of Chattogram port and 1,025km Southwest of Cox"s Bazar port in the morning.

It is likely to intensify further and move in a north-northeasterly direction, the Met Office said. Fani will reach Khulna and adjoining southwestern part of Bangladesh by Friday evening.

Flooding has been forecast for low-lying areas of coastal districts of Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands.

The Met Office said these areas are likely to be inundated by 4-5 feet high storm surge under the influence of "Fani" and the new moon phase.

The maximum sustained wind speed within 74 km of the storm center is about 160kph, rising to 180kph in gusts or squalls.

All the fishing boats and trawlers over the North Bay and deep sea have been advised to take shelter immediately. They have been asked to remain in shelters until further notice.

The government has taken necessary preparations to face the situation if the cyclone hit the Bangladesh coastal areas, said State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Enamur Rahman.

He said the government opened control rooms in 19 coastal districts and 4071 shelter centers have been kept prepared.

Two thousand packets of dry food, 2000 tonnes of rice and cash amounting to Tk 5 lakh have been sent to the districts, he said.

The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) on Thursday suspended all the types of water transport services across the country.

The movement of water vessels on Hatiya and Sandwip sea routes was suspended while large ships instructed to leave Chattogram Port.

UNB Satkhira correspondent reports that the District Disaster Management Committee held an emergency meeting on Thursday with Deputy Commissioner S M Mostafa Kamal in the chair.

The DC said about 137 government cyclone centres and non-government shelters have been prepared. Besides, 3,655 volunteers are ready in Shyamnagar and Ashashuni upazilas, he added.

Meanwhile, authorities have taken necessary measures to protect 11 kilometers of risky embankment under Water Development Board (WDB) in the district.

Volunteers are alerting people through loudspeakers in the coastal Upazilas of Shyamnagar, Ashashuni and Kaliganj, while red flags have been raised in each union. Emergency aid, dry food, drinkable water, children food and other safety materials have been stored to deal with any exigency, officials said.

Members of Fire Service, Coast Guard, BGB, Ansar VDP, Red Crescent, Scout Team and volunteers have been put on alert.

In Khulna, Deputy Commissioner Helal Hossain said 282 shelters have been kept ready.

At least 1,250 volunteers in Koyra upazila, 1,135 in Dakope upazila and 1,000 in Paikgachha and 114 medical teams are ready.

In Bhola, Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Masum Alam Siddique in an emergency meeting on Thursday said, his administration has taken necessary measures to face any situation.

At least 657 cyclone centers and 39 "Mujib Kella" have been prepared.

An amount of Tk 5 lakh as emergency aid, 200 tonnes of rice, 2,500 bags of dry food have been stored while 92 medical teams are ready in the district.

In Pirojpur, Deputy Commissioner Abu Ali Md Sajjad Hossain said his administration has prepared 193 cyclone centers in the district.

Besides, an emergency aid of Tk 5 lakh, 200 tonnes of rice, 2,000 packets of dry food and water-purifying tablets have been stored.

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