A cyclone roared into the Bangladesh coast on Tuesday, killing at least nine people, destroying houses, uprooting trees and disrupting road, power and communication links, officials said.
Mass evacuations before Cyclone Sitrang made landfall on the west coast helped save lives but the full extent of the casualties and damage would only be known after communications were fully restored, they said.
“It was terrible, it looked like the sea was coming to grab us,” Mizanur Rahman, a resident of Bhola district, told Reuters after communications were restored in his neighbourhood.
The cyclone barrelled in from the Bay of Bengal with winds gusting up to 88 kph (55 mph) and a storm surge of about 3 m (10 ft) that flooded low-lying coastal areas.
Power and telephone links have been largely cut and coastal areas plunged into darkness, officials said.
Most of the people killed were crushed by falling trees.
No major damage was reported in refugee camps in southeast Bangladesh, where more than a million ethnic Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Myanmar are living in flimsy shelters.
South Asia has experienced increasing extreme weather in recent years causing large-scale damage. Environmentalists warn that climate change could lead to more disasters, especially in places like densely populated Bangladesh.