Dhaka, April 18: Cyclone "Bijli" that hit the south eastern coast of Bangladesh with wind speeds of 90 kilometres an hour, passed off with a weakened strength but killed at least six people and injured several dozen others.
"The cyclone crossed the southeastern coastlines last night with a weakened strength compared to what was feared earlier," a Met office spokeswoman said.
Officials from southeastern resort town of Cox`s Bazar, which suffered the major brunt of the tropical storm, said two children and a schoolteacher were killed in the district.
One child was killed in a stampede as people rushed to a cyclone shelter in Cox`s Bazar while another was killed as a house collapsed at Pekua at the outskirts of the resort town.
The schoolteacher also died in a stampede at Kutubdia Island.
Red Crescent officials reported three other deaths from Banshkhali of Chittagong and Hatia of Noakhali. They said two people apparently died of panic in Banskhali district while a third one died in thundershower in Hatia.
Though the storm passed off the coastline, smaller vessels or fishing boats were asked to remain shelter as the sea remained rough.
The Met official said the cyclone lashed the coastline with packing winds of up to 90 kilometres (56 miles) an hour. A Disaster Management Ministry spokesman in Dhaka said concerned officials of local administration were collecting data from field levels to assess the extent of the damage and they were expected to prepare a primary report by later today.
Meanwhile, reports from the southeastern coastal region said the cyclone levelled several hundred houses and the standing Boro crops on a vast area.
The Red Crescent officials said 3,23,280 people took refuge in cyclone shelters under a massive evacuation campaign in areas in the path of the storm yesterday.
"We expected over 30 lakh people to take shelter in cyclone shelters but the people preferred not to move out of their houses as the storm weakened eventually," an official of the Red Crescent`s Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) said.
Bangladesh witnessed the worst cyclone in recent decades on November 15, 2007 when the killer "Sidr" lashed the southwestern coastlines killing nearly 3,500 people.