A woman salvages some belongings from her waterlogged house after Cyclone Bulbul struck Khulna district in Bangladesh on Nov. 10. (Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP)
Millions of people living along the Bay of Bengal breathed a sigh of relief on Nov. 10 as Cyclone Bulbul whizzed by, narrowly missing Bangladesh’s southern coast.
The storm was extremely strong, reaching more than 120kph (75mph) before it made landfall between the region of Kalapara in Bangladesh and West Bengal state in neighboring India.
Despite destroying thousands of houses and trees, and flattening croplands worth an estimated 2.62 billion taka (US$31 million), the death toll was relatively low: 26 in Bangladesh and 12 in India.
Authorities have deservedly been credited for issuing early warnings and their mass evacuation of millions of vulnerable people. The biggest lifesaver, however, was once again the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, which stretches across the two countries.