IFRC launches emergency appeal following Cyclone Mahsen

Publicado: 29 mayo 2013 14:56 CET

By Maherin Ahmed

On 16 May 2013, Cyclonic Storm Mahsen claimed more than 13 lives and affected around 1.5 million people across the coastal areas of Patuakhali, Barguna and Bhola in Bangladesh. Many are unable to return home due to tidal surges. Some of the evacuated people have returned to find their houses completely or partially destroyed.

In response, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched an emergency appeal for more 2,789,432 Swiss francs to assist 45,000 affected people.

Before Cyclonic Storm Mahsen made landfall, 49,375 volunteers from the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society’s cyclone preparedness programme helped evacuate around 1.1 million people to safe cyclone shelters. In an operation that demonstrated extraordinary coordination, the Red Crescent alerted and mobilized its volunteers to disseminate early warning messages, carry out evacuation procedures, and assist communities to reach safe shelters. Countless lives were saved.

Right after the evacuation, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society’s response teams were on standby with relief supplies that had been prepositioned for distribution in the affected areas. Immediately after the storm, 300 families (1,500 people) received tarpaulins and jerry cans. The Red Crescent also provided first aid, and distributed dry food and safe drinking water to the affected population.

The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and the IFRC are currently in the process of carrying out detailed assessments in Patuakhali, Bhola, Barguna and Pirojpur districts. The teams are assessing the extent of damage in shelter, access to safe water and sanitation, and the impact of Cyclonic Storm Mahasen on livelihoods to in order to help the community recover from the consequences of Mahsen.

Tsehayou Seyoum, IFRC country representative for Bangladesh, said: “We are lucky to have such a committed volunteer force that helped to evacuate so many people in such a short time. The Red Crescent and IFRC will focus on helping the most affected people as quickly as possible.”

The Red Crescent will assist 9,000 families in water, sanitation, hygiene promotion and shelter for nine months. The operation will be completed by February 2014.