Dhaka –A nor’wester accompanied by hailstorm and heavy rainfall swept many parts of the country on Wednesday noon, leaving two sisters dead in Narsingdi and around 30 injured in Barisal and Munshiganj.
A trawler capsized in Dhaleshwari River in Naraynganj, leaving six dead.
Two persons died in separate incidents of thunder strike in Moulvibazar.
In Narsingdi, two minor sisters were killed as a boundary wall collapsed on them in Noarpara in Madhabdi municipality.
The deceased were identified as Chumki Akther, 4, and her sister Bithi Akhter, 6, daughters of Abdul Halim of the area.
Amar Ekushey Book Fair opened two and half hours behind schedule as the storm left the stalls inundated.
The fair eventually closed hours ahead due to a power cut caused by the storm.
A large portion of the Supreme Court’s fence collapsed after trees fell on it. Trees also fell down in the street in front of Kakrail Mosque.
Witnesses said the wall fell on the two sisters around 1pm during the storm, leaving them dead on the spot.
At Sirajdikhan in Munshiganj, 25 students of grade 10 of Kajishal Hajigaon Humayun Molla High School were injured when the tin roof collapsed during class.
Motorists in Dhaka City turned headlights on hours before sunset when the dark clouds covered the sky.
Passersby were seen running for cover when the rain started.
The traffic system of the capital also collapsed after a 10-minute nor’wester, inflicting sufferings on the city dwellers.
Met office said the storm that lashed the city and its surrounding areas began around 11:50am. It recorded one millimeter rainfall in the capital on Wednesday.
A number of streets in the city went under water following the storm and rainfall. However, no casualties were reported till filing of this report at 5pm.
Immediately after the sudden rainfall, severe traffic congestion was seen in main intersections of the city, including Malibagh, Shantinagar, Moghbazar and Bangla Motor, as roads were submerged by water and due to poor road conditions.
Many commuters were compelled to get down from vehicles and walk through roads amid rainwater contaminated by waste.
“I boarded a bus to go to Farmgate from Shantinagar. I left the bus at Mouchak due to horrible traffic. And now I have no option but to walk,” Maruf Hossain, a service-holder, told this correspondent.
The season’s first nor’wester also caused huge disruption in the power supply in different areas of the city.
According to officials at the city’s two power distribution agencies – DPDC and Desco – the power distribution system of the entire city collapsed as soon as the storm hit the city.
DPDC director operation Harun-ur-Rashid said that the main disaster took place at the 132 KV Haripur-Hasnabad grid line. The transmission line went off at the first hit of the storm.
Heavy hailstorm took place in different parts of the city affecting the livelihood of city dwellers, particularly the lower income group –vendors, day labourers and rickshaw-pullers.
Abdus Samad, a vegetable vendor who sells his goods on streets, said he was selling vegetables on Wednesday like other normal days, but when the sudden hailstorm started, he ran around seeking a safe shelter.
“I was really pinched…I started moving to find a safe shelter to save myself from the hailstorm,” he added.
Hit by the storm, the main gate of the Supreme Court Bar Association building collapsed.
In Munshiganj, 25 students were injured in Sirajdikhan upazila as tin-shed roof of a school collapsed during the storm.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer Rawnak Afroza Suma said the roof broke down while Class-X students were attending class around 11am
The incident left 25 students injured. They were taken to different hospitals.
In Barisal, five people were injured by thunderbolt in Kashipur area of the city, in Babuganj and Banaripara upazilas as the nor’wester lashed Barisal region.
The storm also damaged huge numbers of makeshift houses and slums, uprooted trees and disrupted telecommunication, power and water supply for hours.
Meanwhile, light to moderate rainfalls were reported from several places of the country from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning. A meteorologist at the Met office said rain may occur anytime on Wednesday or Thursday morning.
Around 61 millimetres of rainfall was recorded in Chittagong while 42 mm in Sitakundu, 14 mm in Srimangal, 30 mm in Feni, 17 mm in Comilla, 47 mm in Madaripur, 23 mm in Khulna and 70 mm rainfall in Satkhira until 6 am.
The Met office also hoisted warning signal-2 in the inland river ports of Dhaka, Tangail, Faridpur, Jessore, Kushtia, Khulna, Barisal, Patuakhali, Noakhali, Comilla and Chittagong while signal-1 was hoisted in the river ports of Rajshahi, Pabna, Bogra, Mymensingh and Sylhet.
Besides, rain or thundershowers accompanied by temporary gusty wind is likely to occur at a few places over Khulna, Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka and Sylhet divisions and at one or two places over Rajshahi division and weather may remain mainly dry with temporary partly cloudy sky elsewhere over the country, the sources added. – Agencies