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11/17/2007

Filed under: Film,General — admin @ 6:27 am

Report Increasing Numbers Dead in Bangladesh Cyclone

Filed under: bangladesh,General,global islands,weather — admin @ 6:27 am

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Aid workers struggled Friday to help hundreds of thousands of survivors of a cyclone that blasted Bangladesh with 150 mph winds, killing a reported 1,100 people, savaging coastal towns, and leaving millions without power in the deadliest such storm in more than a decade.

Rescuers — some even employing the brute force of elephants — contended with roads that were washed out or blocked by wind-blown debris to try to get water and food to people stranded by flooding from Tropical Cyclone Sidr.
The damage to livelihood, housing and crops from Sidr will be “extremely severe,” said John Holmes, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, adding that the world body was making millions of dollars in aid available to Bangladesh.

The winds wreaked havoc on the country’s electricity and telephone lines, affecting even areas that were spared a direct hit, and leaving the full picture of the death and destruction unclear.

By late Friday, about 24 hours after the cyclone roared ashore, officials were still struggling to get reports from many of the worst-hit districts.

Dhaka, the capital city of this poor, desperately crowded nation of 150 million people, remained without power. Winds uprooted trees and sent billboards flying through the air, said Ashraful Zaman, an official at the main emergency control room.

The government’s most recent announcement put the death toll at 242, but officials in the Dhaka control room had little up-to-date information. Dalil Uddin of the Ministry of Disaster Management said the official toll would go much higher.

The United News of Bangladesh news agency, which has reporters deployed across the devastated region, said the count from each affected district left an overall death toll of at least 1,100.

Holmes said his U.N. agency believes that more than 20,000 houses have been damaged in the hardest-hit districts, and that the death toll is expected to climb beyond the government’s figures.

About 150 fishing trawlers were unaccounted for, he said.

Hasanul Amin, assistant director of the cyclone preparedness program sponsored by the government and the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, said about a dozen teams had been deployed to the worst-hit areas in the country’s southwest.

But it was slow going. In the village of Sharankhola, some people waited for hours to get dry biscuits and rice, according to Bishnu Prasad, a United News of Bangladesh reporter on the scene.

“We have lost everything,” a farmer, Moshararf Hossain, told Prasad. “We have nowhere to go.”

The cyclone swept in from the Bay of Bengal and roared across the southwestern coast late Thursday with driving rain and high waves, leveling thousands of flimsy huts and destroying crops and fish farms in 15 coastal districts, officials and witnesses said.

Sidr spawned a 4-foot-high storm surge that swept through low-lying areas and some offshore islands, leaving them under water, said Nahid Sultana, an official of the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management.

At least 650,000 coastal villagers had fled to shelters where they were given emergency rations, said senior government official Ali Imam Majumder in Dhaka.

Volunteers from international aid agencies, including the U.N. World Food Program, Save the Children and the U.S.-based Christian aid group World Vision, have joined the relief effort.

World Vision is putting together seven-day relief packages for families that will include rice, oil, sugar, salt, candles and blankets, according to Vince Edwards, the agency’s Bangladesh director.

The World Food Program was sending rations for up to 400,000, Holmes added.

Edwards said debris from the storm has blocked roads and rivers, making it difficult to reach all the areas that had been hit.

“There has been lot of damage to houses made of mud and bamboo, and about 60 to 80 percent of the trees have been uprooted,” Edwards said.

An elephant was pressed into service to help clear a road in Barishal, 75 miles south of Dhaka, pushing a stranded bus and moving a toppled tree.

By Friday night, work had resumed at the country’s two main seaports — Chittagong and Mongla — as well at Chittagong and Dhaka airports, authorities said.

The storm spared India’s eastern coast. Weather officials had forecast only heavy rain and flooding in West Bengal and Orissa states.

Bangladesh is prone to seasonal cyclones and floods that cause huge losses of life and property. In 1970, between 300,000 and 500,000 people were killed by a cyclone, and some 140,000 died in 1991. Dozens of other cyclones have taken more than 60,000 lives since 1960.

The most recent deadly storm was a tornado that leveled 80 villages in northern Bangladesh in 1996, killing 621 people.

After the 1991 cyclone, foreign donors and Bangladeshi government agencies began building emergency shelters — concrete boxes raised on pillars, each able to hold anywhere from a few hundred to 3,000 people.

More than 2,000 shelters have since been built.

Cyclone death toll rises to 1,723

The number of people killed by the cyclone, Sidr, that tore through the country on Thursday has run into 1,723, according to armed forces division.

Death toll exceeds 2,000

A massive search and rescue operation went ahead in southern Bangladesh Saturday, revealing decaying bodies tossed by a devastating cyclone that left at least 2,185 people dead and hundreds missing. More than 5,000 people were injured in the worst-affected coastal belt, rescuers said as thousands of soldiers and civilian volunteers went into action.

At least 300 more bodies were located of people killed in Friday’s cyclone which triggered mudslides and flash floods.

Most deaths occurred in the Patuakhali-Barisal zone and offshore islands where nearly 450 people, including children, were found dead, said a spokesperson of the national flood warning and control centre.

Rescue teams have now reached most of cyclone-hit Bangladesh where the
death toll now stands at 2,400. It is thought that around one million
families have been affected by Cyclone Sidr which struck on Thursday.
There are fears the final toll could be much higher. The storm is believed
to have destroyed rice harvests in many areas, as well as the shrimp farms
and other crops. Cyclone Sidr is the most destructive storm to hit
Bangladesh in more than a decade.

Three million people affected, over 270,000 houses destroyed, the need is enormous.

Oxfam today launches a Bangladesh Cyclone appeal, calling on the British public to donate £2m for the cyclone stricken area.

The appeal comes as the scale of devastation and necessary relief effort becomes apparent. Hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis are returning to their homes to find complete ruin – an estimated 273,000 homes have been lost, crops are damaged and there are increasing water and sanitation concerns.

“The scale of this disaster is enormous,” says Heather Blackwell, head of Oxfam in Bangladesh. “Up to three million people are affected. We are seeing families who have lost everything. The British public are incredibly generous and we urgently need their support to help us save and rebuild people’s lives.”

Oxfam has been working with local partners since Cyclone Sidr struck on Thursday, with teams in the worst-hit southern districts of Daerhat, Pirojpur, Barguna and Patuakhali assessing and providing urgent relief such as sanitation and food and water. The money raised will be used to continue to provide immediate relief to over 80,000 people – essential sanitation, food and water, shelter, well and latrine cleaning, and debris clearing, as well as helping people get back on their feet.

One of the world’s poorest countries, Bangladesh has already faced huge damage from severe floods in July.

“People here are resilient,” says Blackwell. “However the scale is such that it will take months for people to be able to return to their normal lives. With an estimated 75 per cent of crops in the Southern region destroyed, this disaster will require a long-term relief effort. Oxfam will be here working with our partners in months to come.”

Oxfam is concerned that with an increase in global warming, natural disasters such as the one that has hit Bangladesh are becoming more frequent.

“We have seen an unprecedented number of disasters this year and we have seen time and time again that the world’s poorest people are being hit the hardest. The public have responded generously this year. We need them to dig deep again as we scale up our crucial work here.”

DHAKA, Nov. 20 — The death toll from cyclone which hit Bangladesh last Thursday night reached 3,447 at 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Bangladesh Army disaster management wing.

The number of injured stood at 3,322 and the missing numbered 1,063, private news agency bdnews24 reported quoting the army report.

Meanwhile, the death toll by the Food and Disaster Management Ministry stood at 2,819 till 1 p.m. Tuesday.

An official of the Ministry said, as the army rescue operation has reached more isolated areas and received more information, their figure over the death caused by the cyclone is higher.

The armed forces have reached 90 percent of the affected areas with rescue and relief mission till Monday, and the helicopters covered most of the remote places.

So far, the armed forces have reached 100 percent of affected sub-districts level and 70 percent of village level.

The terrible cyclone hit more than 20 out of the country’s 64 districts, affecting over 3 million people of 900,000 families, leaving nearly 300,000 homeless.

The deadly cyclone Sidr was one of the fiercest cyclones that had hit the region of Bangladesh in the 131 years between 1876 and 2007.

Bangladesh government Monday made international request to assist the cyclone victims and post-cyclone rehabilitation.

So far, the donor countries and agencies have pledged emergency aid of 140 million U.S. dollars.

• • • Relief Reaches All Bangladesh Cyclone-Hit Areas, Donors Pledge Hundreds of Millions in Aid

Relief workers in Bangladesh say they have reached the last remaining pockets of the country devastated by last week’s cyclone that killed some 3,500 people and displaced millions others.

The military is flying helicopters and cargo planes to deliver badly needed food, medicine, tents and clean water.

Relief officials say many victims have lost everything and will need months to recover. They also warned the death toll could climb significantly after all the victims in isolated areas are accounted for.

The World Bank offered up to $250 million to help the nation recover from the deadly storm, while the United Nations said it had authorized almost $9 million in aid.

The director of U.S. Foreign Assistance, Henrietta Fore is in Dhaka to offer more than $2 million in aid.

Two U.S. naval ships, U.S.S. Essex and The Kearsarge carrying some 30 helicopters are scheduled to arrive in the Bay of Bengal by the end of the week to help distribute 35 tons of emergency aid.

The Australian government pledged $3 million toward emergency relief, while the European Union more than $9.5 million.

Cyclone Sidr is the worst natural disaster in Bangladesh since 1991, when a cyclone and storm surge killed around 143,000 people.

The head of Bangladesh’s emergency government, Fakhruddin Ahmed, said the country was facing a national crisis and called on Bangladeshi citizens to help those in need.

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