The ongoing mild cold wave sweeping over most regions of the country is likely to continue until Monday while meteorologists have forecast another cold spell in the last week of January.
Biting cold has so far claimed 27 lives in between January 4 and 12, according to International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
National Health Crisis Management Centre, however, claims only one death from cold on January 11 as a cold wave continued to sweep across the country over the past week, affecting elderly people and children mostly in the worst affected northern and western parts.
Met office said on Saturday that the moderate cold wave hitting some regions might abate within two or three days as the country’s overall temperature has started rising gradually.
‘The moderate cold wave, with minimum temperature at 6.1-8.0 degrees Celsius, is likely to abate by the next two or three days,’ said meteorologist Omar Faruq of Bangladesh Meteorological Department.
He, however, told New Age that another spell of cold wave could begin in the last week of January.
The lowest ever temperature of the country’s history was recorded at 2.6 degrees Celsius in Panchagarh on January 8.
The cold hit kids, elderly people, and the poor and day-to-day earners most and disrupted normal life in the northern and south-western districts.
Hospitals in the capital and elsewhere in the country are facing a rush of patients suffering from respiratory infections, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, diarrhoea and other diseases caused by cold.
The met office said on Saturday that mild to moderate cold wave was sweeping over Rangpur, Rajshahi and Mymensingh divisions and the regions of Tangail, Faridpur, Madaripur, Gopalganj, Jessore, Kushtia, Satkhira, Chuadanga, Barisal, Sitakunda and Rangamati.
Moderate to thick fog may occur over the country from midnight to Sunday morning and it may continue at places till noon while weather may remain dry with temporary partly cloudy sky over the country.
Night temperature may rise by 1-2 degrees Celsius and day temperature may remain nearly unchanged over the country.
Minimum temperature of the country was recorded on Saturday at 7 degrees Celsius at Tetulia and Jessore.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a bulletin on Friday that at least 27 people died in the cold wave in January 4-12.
The bulletin cited Disaster Forum as sources of the death figures.
National Health Crisis Management Centre, however, recorded the death of a person in Sylhet on January 11.
The person, whose details could not be confirmed, died of acute respiratory infections, according to the NHCMC.
It said since November 2017, at least 10,902 people contracted acute respiratory infections, 34,777 diarrhoea and 21,617 other cold-related diseases.
In between November and December, six people died of acute respiratory infections and one with diarrhoea, the NHCMC said.
The cold wave has disrupted the lives of many in northern Bangladesh. Poor people, particularly the farmers and rickshaw-pullers, have been affected badly. Children and elderly people are the worst affected.
Thick fog disrupted road communication across highways while the waterways faced difficulties in operating ferries and boats especially on two major routes on the Padma.
New Age correspondent in Munshiganj reported that the ferry services were suspended for about eight hours on Shimulia-Kathalbari route.
Six ferries were also stuck in the mid-river due to visibility problem.
The ferry services were suspended from 2:30am to 11:00am on Saturday due to thick fog, said Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation manager Giasuddin Patwary at Shimulia point.
The disruption in ferry service caused huge tailback on both ends of the route.
New Age correspondent in Manikganj reported that ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia route resumed after eight hours of disruption caused by dense fog Saturday morning.
The ferry services were disrupted from 2:30am due to poor visibility caused by thick fog, said Nasir Mohammad Chowdhury, assistant general manager of the BIWTC at Aricha.
The services resumed around 10:30am as the fog lifted, Nasir added.
New Age correspondent in Jessore reported that although there was an improvement in temperature in the district, severe cold bite was felt in absence of the sun.
Sun was not visible in Jessore on Saturday.
New Age correspondent in Comilla reported that pneumonia and diarrhoea patients increased in the districts due to biting cold.
At least 300 people mostly children were hospitalised with the cold related diseases in last week in the district.
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