Cyclone Mahasen strikes Bangladesh, killing as many as 12


Rohingya women sit in front of their relief tent at the Mansi Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp on the outskirts of Sittwe on May 15, 2013.


Soe Than Win

Cyclone Mahasen touched down in Bangladesh on Thursday, claiming as many as 12 lives and sending thousands to emergency shelters.

Winds up to 100 km/h (60 mph) hit the Patuakhali district as the storm headed for the ports of Chittagong and Cox's Bazar. Around one million people were evacuated from low-lying areas in both Bangladesh and Myanmar in anticipation of the storm.

Bangladesh authorities downgraded the warning as the storm weakened, although it did cause some flooding along the coast at high tide, destroying thousands of homes and huts with torrential rain and wind.

More from GlobalPost: Bangladesh and Myanmar brace for Cyclone Mahasen

Thousands of internally displaced people living in camps in neighboring Myanmar were largely spared, assuaging fears for their safety.

The storm is now moving northeast toward India.

"It has now crossed over coastal areas and is a land depression over Bangladesh and adjoining areas of India and will gradually weaken further," Mohammad Shah Alam, the director of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, told Reuters.

Aid agencies and local authorities had prepared residents expected to be affected by Cyclone Mahasen on Wednesday, putting emergency supplies in position. Around 4.5 million people in southeastern Bangladesh were expected to be affected by the storm and thousands of buildings were prepared as cyclone shelters.