Bangladesh on Wednesday suspended operations at two airports and a port as cyclone Mahasen headed towards its coastline, officials said.

“We have asked suspension of all flights to and from Shah Amanat International Airport from 4 pm (1000 GMT) and are trying to remove airport equipment to safer places,” said Mahfuzul Alam, the airport’s acting manager.

Authorities earlier cancelled domestic flights from Cox’s Bazar airport, around 400 kilometres south-east of capital Dhaka.

The Chittagong Port Authority suspended all activities, including container-handling on the shore, a port official said.

Bangladesh earlier put 50,000 volunteers on alert in 13 coastal districts as the tropical cyclone approached the coast.

More than 3,500 shelters in those districts were also prepared.

The cyclone, was intensifying 760 kilometres offshore, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said.

“It may cross Khepupara-Teknaf coast near Chittagong by early Thursday,” it said in a special bulletin.