Dhaka: A cyclone set to hit the Bangladesh coast later Thursday has already killed three people and forced the evacuation of thousands from mainly poor fishing communities, police and other officials said.
Cyclone Komen, forming in the Bay of Bengal, has destroyed dozens of makeshift homes on Bangladesh`s southernmost point of Saint Martin`s island as it moves towards the coast, local police chief Ataur Rahman said.
"At least 150 houses of local fishermen were reportedly destroyed due to the storm," he said.
Three men were killed in separate incidents when trees fell onto their tin houses, Rahman said.
The storm, currently southeast of the city of Chittagong, was packing winds of only about 54 kilometres (33 miles) an hour and was expected to lose strength after making land, meteorologist Abdur Rahman said.
"The storm is slowly moving northwest and likely to hit the southern coast in the afternoon," he said.
Some 60,000 people have been evacuated from coastal villages in the southern resort district of Cox`s Bazar following concerns of high waves, senior local official Anupam Saha told AFP.
"We have evacuated more than 60,000 people from the coastal fishermen`s villages and sent them to cyclone centres," he said.
Some of the deadliest storms in history have formed in the Bay of Bengal, including one in 1970 that killed hundreds of thousands of people in modern-day Bangladesh.
In 2013, one million people were forced to flee their homes when Cyclone Phailin hit India`s southeast coast.