Strong winds and strong waves continue to pound the coasts of India and Bangladesh on Monday, where at least ten people died as powerful Cyclone Remal weakens as it moves inland. lands.

“Most died when houses or walls collapsed,” said Showkat Ali, government administrator for Bangladesh's Barisal district, where seven people lost their lives. Three others died in neighboring districts.

At least 800,000 Bangladeshis have fled the country's coast, authorities say, while more than 150,000 people in India have retreated far from the sea, leaving the Sundarbans forest region where the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna flow into the Bay of Bengal.

At the height of the cyclone, the wind speed reached up to 111 km/h, a senior official from the Bangladesh meteorological service, Muhammad Abul Kalam Mallik, told AFP.

By Monday afternoon, the cyclone strengthened into a storm, but winds and rain continued to sweep the coast.

“There is still heavy rain caused by the cyclone and the wind speed remains high,” Showkat Ali added.

In Khulan district, two people died, according to Helal Mahmud, its administrator.

– 12.5 million people without electricity –
“The cyclone damaged more than 123,000 houses in the division, and among them, some 31,000 houses were completely damaged,” he told AFP.

Another person died in Chittagong, where “more than 40,000 people are still in cyclone shelters due to heavy rains and strong winds”, administrator Tofael Islam told AFP.

More than 12.5 million people were left without electricity, said Biswanath Sikder, chief engineer of the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board, the country's largest state-owned electricity distribution company.

“Power supply will resume once the cyclone situation improves,” he said.

Cyclones have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh in recent decades and the number hitting its low-lying, densely populated coastline has risen sharply, from one to three a year, due to climate change.

Most of Bangladesh's coastal areas are one or two meters above sea level.

Authorities in Bangladesh have raised the cyclone alert level to its maximum, warning fishermen not to go to sea and issuing an evacuation order for those in vulnerable areas.

Mr. Hasan told AFP that “banks have been breached or submerged in several places, flooding certain coastal areas.”

– Concern for wildlife –
In the Indian state of West Bengal (east), “the cyclone took away the roofs of hundreds of houses” and also “uprooted thousands of mangrove trees and electricity poles”, the minister detailed to AFP Chief of State, Bankim Chandra Hazra.

“Storm surges and rising water levels have breached many embankments,” the chief minister also said. “Some island villages are flooded,” he continued.

Sumita Mondal, 36, who spent the night far from Indian shores, said she fled with what little she could carry.

“My three-year-old son is crying, he wants food,” she told AFP by telephone.

According to Muhammad Abul Kalam Mallik, the mangroves of the Sundarbans region helped absorb the worst of the cyclone.

“As in the past, the Sundarbans acted as a natural shield,” he said.

But according to Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain, Bangladesh's top forest official for the Sundarbans, the storm surge inundated vital freshwater areas with salt water.

“We are worried,” he said. “These ponds are a source of fresh water for all the wildlife in the mangroves, including Bengal tigers, an endangered species.”

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