A man walks past a house destroyed after cyclone Bulbul hit the area in Koyra, Bangladesh. AFP
The death toll from a cyclone that barrelled into the coasts of Bangladesh and India has risen to 24, authorities said on Monday, as the two nations assess the scale of devastation wreaked by the powerful storm.
Bangladesh carried out one of its biggest ever evacuation drives, moving some 2.1 million people to cyclone shelters specially built to minimise casualties from such storms, which can claim thousands of victims.
Men try to clear the debris from their damaged house after Cyclone Bulbul hit the area in Namkhana, India. Reuters
Cyclone Bulbul, packing winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour (75 mph) when it hit late Saturday, killed 12 people in Bangladesh — 11 from falling trees — and 12 in India's West Bengal and Odisha states.
Five others remain missing after a fishing trawler sank in squally weather near Bangladesh's southern island of Bhola, district administrator Masud Alam Siddiqui told the media.
Bangladesh's junior minister for disaster management Enamur Rahman told AFP Bulbul left a trail of destruction, damaging some 10,000 mud, tin and bamboo homes and 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres) of crops.
The cyclone weakened as it tracked inland.
The Sundarbans — the world's largest mangrove forest which straddles the two nations and is home to several endangered species — shielded the coast from the storm's full impact, officials added.
A woman is seen inside her damaged house after Cyclone Bulbul hit the area in Khulna, Bangladesh. Reuters
In India, nearly 120,000 evacuated people were returning home as the cyclone weakened, authorities said. Coastal crops in Odisha were also extensively damaged, officials told the Press Trust of India.
Bangladesh's low-lying coast, home to 30 million people, and India's east are regularly battered by cyclones that have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in recent decades.
While the storms' frequency and intensity have increased — partly due to climate change — the death tolls have come down because of faster evacuations and the building of thousands of coastal shelters.
Cyclone Fani, the first summer cyclone to hit India's Bay of Bengal coast in 43 years, made landfall in Odisha state on May 3 packing winds up to 200 kilometres (125 miles) per hour.
Heavy rains since Thursday have hit several districts in Nepal, especially in the country's eastern region and the southern plains, affecting thousands.
The monsoon is crucial for irrigation and groundwater supplies in the impoverished region — home to a fifth of the world's population — and brings relief after the unforgiving summer.
Thousands of activists from around the globe will simultaneously hit the streets of Madrid and Santiago on Friday to demand urgent action on the climate crisis from world leaders attending the COP25 summit.
France was on Friday preparing for a second day of travel cancellations and school closures as unions warned there would be no let-up in the strike called to protest planned pension reforms.
Indian police shot dead four men on Friday who were suspected of raping and killing a 27-year-old veterinarian in the southern city of Hyderabad last week, a senior police official told Reuters.