Red Cross prepares for further flooding and landslides as Cyclone Roanu bears down on Bangladesh and Myanmar

Publicado: 21 mayo 2016 10:08 CET

Over the past week, Tropical Cyclone Roanu, has brought torrential rains to Sri Lanka, triggering landslides and causing widespread flooding across much of the country affecting over 415,000 people. In recent days the storm has tracked northwest in the Bay of Bengal bringing further flooding to parts of the Indian States of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Although weakening in intensity, the Category 1 storm is making landfall in Bangladesh today, threatening further flooding and landslides.

“We are watching this storm very closely. While the wind speeds are not that high, this is a slow-moving weather system and we can expect a massive amount of rainfall”, said Martin Faller, the IFRC’s head of operations for Asia Pacific. “Some places in Sri Lanka received over 12 inches of rain in 48 hours and we are concerned that there will be humanitarian impacts if a similar story unfolds in coastal areas and the hills of Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in both countries are on high alert and have been pre-emptively evacuating people who may be in harm’s way”.

In Bangladesh, a cyclone warning alert has been issued for 18 coastal districts and hundreds of Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers have been helping the Government to evacuate communities in the coastal belt to the safety of cyclone shelters. The cyclone could bring storm surges of over two metres and there are concerns that the heavy rainfall will trigger landslides in the hill regions of Chittagong and Sylhet. As a pre-emptive measure, the Red Crescent has deployed relief convoys from its warehouses in Dhaka and Chittagong with items such as tarpaulins, clothing, water containers and purification tablets, sufficient for 15,000 people. Disaster response teams have also been deployed from Dhaka to support the local district branches with immediate relief distributions to affected people, including cooked and dry food.

While the path of the cyclone tracks directly through Bangladesh, the storm is also expected to impact neighbouring Myanmar with heavy rains and flash floods. Myanmar Red Cross branches and volunteers in the States of Chin, Rakhine, Magway and Sagaing have been placed on alert, emergency response teams have been activated and warning messages are being disseminated to at risk communities. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and International Committee of the Red Cross stand ready to provide in-country support if required.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released funds from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to support ongoing relief efforts in Sri Lanka and is finalizing the same for an anticipated emergency response in Bangladesh.

For updates on Twitter follow @IFRCAsia Pacific  @BDRedCrescent                                  @ MyanmarRedCross @SLRedCross