By Maherin Ahmed, IFRC
Late in the night on October 10, violent storms swept in from the Bay of Bengal and lashed the coastal districts of south east Bangladesh. At least 31 people were killed in Noakhali, Bhola and Chitagong, while a further 1,500 fishermen along with 200 fishing boats in the Meghna River, remain missing. The storms damaged hundreds of thatched houses, cut off villages and left many without electricity.
Staff and volunteers of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society’s Cyclone Preparedness Programme have been carrying carrying out search and rescue operations, providing first aid, and helping people to access safer shelters.
Within 24 hours of the storms striking, 1,000 families were provided with tarpaulins, jerry cans, pressed rice and molasses. The organization has also deployed ten National Disaster Response Teams to the affected regions to carry out in depth assessments of damages and needs.
Sajit Menon, country representative for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says: “The storms came at a time when Bangladesh was just recovering from the floods and landslides that struck earlier in the monsoon season. Despite the difficult circumstances our strong volunteer base has made it possible to conduct search and rescue, and we are carrying out assessments to determine the long-term recovery needs of those affected.”
Displaced people in the affected districts are residing on road sides, raised ground, schools and colleges, and are in need of shelter, basic food and non-food items. Livelihoods dependent on agriculture and livestock are at risk due to losses from the wind damage and tidal surge that accompanied the storm.
The IFRC has allocated 266,000 Swiss francs (284,903 US dollars) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to support more than 25,000 people over the next four months. The main focus will be on providing affected families with a package of food and non-food relief items including emergency shelter materials, water jerry cans and dry food.