A severe cyclone has killed more than 500 people in Bangladesh and left thousands injured or missing. As, the latest new goes, Three thousand people have been confirmed dead in Bangladesh after a cyclone hit the south of the country, the private ATN Bangla television network said Sunday as the death toll continued to rise.
“We are expecting that thousands of dead bodies may be found within a few days,” the deputy head of the government’s disaster management office, Shekhar Chandra Das, told AFP in the capital Dhaka.
“We have not been able to collect information about casualties in many remote and impassable places due to the disruption to communications,” he said. In most areas telephone lines are down and roads blocked. Countless villages have also been blown from the face of the earth.
“The number of deaths so far is 1,723 and it is increasing,” said major Emdadul Islam of the armed forces control room.
“A 20-foot (six-metre) wall of water wrecked the village of Charkhali and 30 more people are still missing,” said local government official K.M. Abdul Wadud.
“The wind and the tidal surge were so strong that it churned up four kilometres (2.5 miles) of a tarmac road,” added resident Anowar Hossen Khan.
The dead were being buried in a mass grave, villagers said.
Millions more were also said to be homeless. “Village after village has been shattered,” said administrator Hariprasad Pal. “Millions of people are living out in the open and relief is reaching less than one percent of the people.”
Residents in southern districts near the coast bore the full brunt of the storm and told AFP of their terror as they were hit by wind speeds of up to 240 kilometres (155 miles) an hour, huge waves and suffocating rain. Fulmala Begum, 40, said she was not warned to evacuate and had to take refuge under a bed with her husband and two children as the storm roared around her.
“Five hours later we found ourselves under a heap of tin roofs and two huge trees. Not a single house in my village was spared the catastrophe,” said the woman, lucky to be alive but totally destitute.
Thousands of survivors waited for relief aid amid their wrecked homes and flooded fields after the deadliest storm to hit Bangladesh in a decade, as a news report said the cyclone’s death toll neared 1,800.
The Government scrambled to join international agencies and local officials in the rescue mission following Tropical Cyclone Sidr, deploying military helicopters, thousands of troops and naval ships. Rescuers struggled to clear roads and get their vehicles through, but many found the blockages impassable. “We will try again tomorrow on bicycles, and hire local country boats,” M Shakil Anwar of CARE said from the city of Khulna. At least 1.5 million coastal villagers had fled to shelters where they were given emergency rations. The cyclone, which followed devastating floods in July-September that killed more than 1000, posed a new challenge to the interim administration, whose main task is to hold free and fair national elections before the end of next year. The cyclone triggered a tidal surge that inundated the towns of Patuakhali, Barguna and Jharkhand, cutting off communication links. A government official in Dhaka said there was no immediate information about casualities from the area. The cyclone blew past India’s eastern coast without causing much damage.
The cyclone will pass and we will again try to bring back things to normalcy. But the cyclone definitely left behind a legacy of pain, sorrow and memories which are never to be forgotten. It left behind orphans, left behind the cries of a bereaved mother and father. All our planning and policies failed. Situations went out of hand. Mother Nature turned so destructive that we just stood as mere spectators and our near and dear ones are taken away from us.
Lets join hands and together create a Safer, Greener and a Disaster Free World for us as well as for our future generations.
Mr. Mainak Majumdar
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant