At least 16 persons were killed in Bangladesh as Cyclone Sitrang battered coastal districts of the country after it made landfall on Monday night, Prothom Alo newspaper reported, citing the officials.

The toll could be as high as 35 since many missing persons have not yet been declared dead by the authorities, according to the newspaper.

Sitrang made landfall between Tinkona Island and Sandwip between 9.30 pm and 11.30 pm on Monday, PTI reported, citing the meteorological department in West Bengal.

The cyclone brought heavy rainfall with strong winds in the coastal districts of the country, leading to fears that many houses and crops have been damaged, officials from Bangladesh’s meteorological department said, reported The Daily Star.

Sitrang has left many low-lying areas inundated and destroyed power and telephone links, pushing the affected regions into darkness, reported Reuters.

“It was terrible, it looked like the sea was coming to grab us,” Mizanur Rahman, a resident of the Bhola district, told Reuters. “We spent a sleepless night, all we could do was pray.”

State Minister for the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman said that about 10,000 houses across Bangladesh were damaged, according to PTI.

Around 600 roadside trees fell in different districts, according to the central control room of the fire department in Dhaka.

The weather department said that the maximum wind speed was 88 km per hour as against 110 km per hour projected earlier. The cyclone has now weakened into a depression and is likely to turn into a low pressure by Tuesday evening, according to the weather department.

As a precautionary measure, thousands of residents were shifted from vulnerable areas before the cyclone made landfall.

According to the government, 6.37 lakh residents took refuge in about 7,000 shelters across the country, reported bdnews24.

In India, the cyclone skirted off West Bengal but brought moderate to heavy rainfall to many of its coastal districts of South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore.