30 May 2009

Relief insufficient, people in remote places remain unfed for 4 days









Cry for water, food in cyclone-hit areas

In the aftermath of cyclone Aila, thousands of villagers in Bagerhat, Satkhira, Khulna, Bhola and Noakhali now cry for food and drinking water for survival, as relief operations are insufficient to deal with the enormity of the situation. People, living in remote areas, are the worst-sufferers, as relief materials could not reach them even after four days of the cyclone Aila that smashed the coastal belt on Monday (May 25), UNB correspondents report after visiting different affected places. In some places, people are forced to drink polluted water to quench their thirst. Diarrhea has broken out in the cyclone-hit areas and it may soon take epidemic form unless the government provides water purification tablets and medicines to people in such areas. Medical teams are not sufficient to treat hundreds of diarrhea patients. Four people have so far died of diarrhea in Satkhira, reports UNB correspondent. Food and Disaster Management Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque had nearly a four-hour meeting till 1:00am on Friday in Satkhira with the local administration to ensure supply of relief materials for Aila victims. Lt Col Zillur Rahman, who is coordinating the army relief activities in Satkhira, told the meeting in presence of Food and Disaster Management Minister that relief did not reach many remote areas when the government officials claimed sending relief materials to each remote area. "A woman dropped to my foot and begged simply for a bottle of water to give her kid who remained unfed for the last three days," the colonel said while narrating the actual scenario of relief distribution. UNB Bhola correspondent said many people remain half-fed for the last three days. "Some local NGOs are working with the government but supply of relief materials is very poor," he said. Many people were stranded in some 20 isolated chars where government relief has not reached yet. UNB Khulna correspondent said people were not prepared for such disaster. People's misery has doubled, as the government could not send the cyclone warning quickly, like it had done before the cyclone SIDR. He said over 200 people are still missing in Khulna and survivors in remote areas are crying for food and water. A resident in Hatiya of Noakhali told UNB that three navy ships have distributed relief packets containing 500 grams of chira (flattened rice), one candle and a bottle of water. They distributed 250 such packets at Tamruddin union and 125 each at Char King union and Sukhchar on Wednesday, he said adding that the relief was too scanty to meet the demand. Amena Begum, a 63-year-old woman at Padmapukur union in Satkhira, said: "I can't express my grief, everything seems meaningless. How can I survive as my key means of earning, a cow, has died. Also I'm homeless now." Mamunur Rahman, another cyclone victim from the same union, said he is in great trouble, unable to manage food for his three-member family. He said he had been given meager relief only once. "I can't say how I feel when my three-year-old child Nazma cries for food. I can't do anything," he said, adding that he would manage to survive with his family if drinking water could be found. A similar scenario prevailed everywhere, as the correspondents found while talking to dozens of people in Bhola, Satkhira, Khulna and Hatiya. Most of the people were seen crying for water, food and fuel to cook foods. Diarrhoea has broken out in the cyclone-hit coastal areas of Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira, Bhola and Hatiya for lack of safe drinking water. Inadequate medical teams and medicines have made the situation critical, UNB correspondents said. Satkhira Civil Surgeon Dr Md Ebadullah told the reporters that 37 medical teams are working in the affected areas of the district.

Lakhs left homeless by Aila

Dhaka, May 29 —Over one and half lakh dwelling houses have been totally damaged by the onslaught of the cyclone Aila in Bagerhat, Borguna, Khulna and Satkhira districts. Several lakhs of people, virtually homeless, are reportedly staying on high roads, dams, cyclone centres, boats in the affected areas. In Bagerhat, 2,403 houses were totally and 39,600 houses partly damaged in the cyclone, district relief and rehabilitation officials said. Of them, 1,247 houses were damaged in Mongla, 750 in Sharankhola and 406 in Sadar Upazila As many as 3,920 families have lost their houses Barguna. A total of 19,658 houses were partly damaged while 262 educational institutes-24 totally and 238 partially-were damaged, district control room reported. About one lakh houses were damaged in the onslaught of the cyclone and tidal bore in Khulna. Over five lakh people have taken shelter on the cyclone centres, boats and dams. Additional deputy commissioner Md Maojjam Hossain said 94,858 houses were washed away by the cyclone and tidal surge. In Satkhira, 1,15,729 houses were totally damaged and 26,055 houses partially damaged in seven Upazilas during the cyclone, the district relief and rehabilitation centre said As many as 5,95,122 people of 1,14,164 families were badly affected by the cyclone in seven upazilas. Besides, 19,537 people are staying at 160 shelter centres.

12 more bodies found in Aila-hit areas

The death toll from Cyclone Aila that hit the country’s southern coastal districts Monday afternoon rose to 167 with the recovery of 12 more bodies till today. The government confirmed the death of 12 more people in Cyclone Aila. According to the control room of the food and disaster management ministry, no one remain missing now even though officials concerned earlier said 10 might had been washed away by tidal surge. Meanwhile, the government has taken all necessary steps to provide healthcare services to the Aila-affected people, said a health and family welfare ministry handout. It said a total of 891 medical teams have been working in the cyclone-hit areas. Officials said the directorate of health is ready to form more medical teams if the civil surgeon of the respective district feels it necessary. Among the medical teams, a 15-member one has been sent to Satkhira district while a 10-member one will join them soon from Khulna. Besides, adequate oral saline, water purification tablets and other medicines have been sent to the affected areas, officials said. In its initial assessment report, the control room said the cyclone affected around 36,06,116 people of 8,01,602 families in 67 upazilas of 12 districts. Some 7,108 people were injured and 95,325 domestic animals killed in the cyclone and standing crops on some 75,119.8 acres of land were damaged completely while crops on 2,52,286 acres of land were damaged partially by the devastating cyclone. Besides, about 2,27,447 houses were fully damaged while 3,13,904 houses partially. Meanwhile, 15,150 metric tons of rice have been distributed among the storm-hit people in the coastal belt while Tk 1,95,00000 in cash.

Cyclone Aila death toll rises to 264

More than 500,000 left homeless by storm that battered India, Bangladesh

Hundreds of thousands of people flooded out of their homes by deadly Cyclone Aila were crowding government shelters in eastern India and Bangladesh on Friday. The death toll from Monday's cyclone rose to 264 people in the two countries. And officials say the risk of disease outbreaks is growing in the aftermath. A senior official in West Bengal state's Emergency Relief Department says the cyclone left 500,000 homeless in India. More than 130,000 are crowded in government-run camps. Relief officials are using aircraft and boats to deliver food, water and medicine to others sheltering in schools, office buildings or friends' homes. Bangladesh's Food and Disaster Management Ministry has stopped announcing the number of displaced people, but on Friday said several thousand people were still in shelters. Fears for local wildlife Conservationists have expressed concern over the fate of one of the world's largest populations of tigers that live in a tangle of mangrove forests in the Sundarbans in West Bengal state. At least one tiger from the flooded reserve took refuge in a house. Forest guards tranquillized it and planned to release it once the waters subside, said Belinda Wright of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, which assisted in the operation. It is believed about 250 tigers live on the Indian side of the Sundarbans and another 250 live on the Bangladeshi side. Conservationists said water levels were too high for ecologists and forest officials to enter the area and assess the damage. Officials said water sources will likely have been contaminated by salt from the sea.

HONG KONG — A cyclone that tore into southern Bangladesh and eastern India on Wednesday has killed at least 191 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless, according to relief workers and news agencies. The death toll was expected to rise as rescuers reached rural villages cut off by flood waters. The Food and Disaster Management Ministry said Cyclone Aila had killed 113 people in Bangladesh, and a government official in West Bengal state in India put the number of dead at 78, some of whom had been killed overnight by mudslides. In India alone, about 2.3 million people were affected or stranded in flooded villages, The Associated Press reported. Storm surges in coastal areas of Bangladesh were particularly deadly, disaster officials said, as nearly half a million people sought refuge in temporary shelters. Fishing boats also were damaged and vast areas of rice paddies and cropland were flooded with salty seawater. Nijhum Dwip, a low-lying coastal island with 25,000 residents, was reportedly submerged. “We’re quite worried about this island, because reports are coming in that houses and fields have been totally washed away,” said Nick Southern, the Bangladesh country director for the aid agency Care. “We are trying to get there today by boat, but the cyclone has made travel almost impossible.” In India, video reports from the city of Calcutta showed snapped power lines, uprooted trees and roofs being torn from houses and commercial buildings. The heavy rains also caused massive mudslides in the Darjeeling tea district, where more than 20 people had died, the A.P. reported. The cyclone also lashed the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest and a Unesco World Heritage Site that straddles the India-Bangladesh border. The area is an important home to the Royal Bengal tiger, and The A.P. reported that at least one tiger retreated from the rising waters into a home. Game wardens tranquilized the tiger and planned to release it after the flooding subsided. The same area was struck in 2007 by Cyclone Sidar. More than 3,500 people died in that storm and 2 million more were displaced.

Bangladesh cyclone diarrhoea fear

Doctors in Bangladesh say they fear an acute outbreak of diarrhoea after Cyclone Aila hit the country and the Indian state of West Bengal on Monday.

They say that many in the storm-hit areas now face acute clean water shortages as floodwater becomes stagnant and polluted. At least 200 people died in the storm in India and Bangladesh, with officials warning the final toll could be higher. Nearly half a million people are homeless following the storm. Relief officials say many more corpses are still to be recovered from the slowly receding flood waters.

'Acute shortage'

A large-scale military and civilian relief operation is under way in Bangladesh and West Bengal, with stranded communities in both countries complaining that aid has been slow to arrive. "There's an acute shortage of drinking water and as a result diarrhoea has broken out," Lutsur Rahman Khan, medical chief of Bangladesh's Khulna district, told the AFP news agency. "The situation is bad and it's a race against time to prevent a full-scale epidemic from breaking out." He said that several levees had been washed away by the cyclone, particularly in areas adjoining the Indian border, which meant that some areas are repeat-flooded every time there is a high tide. Matters had been made worse because salty water could not be treated with purification tablets while water-treatment facilities brought in by the army were also unable to purify sea water, he said. The contamination of surface water by the tidal surges has also prompted fears that crops over the next year will be damaged in areas of subsistence agriculture. The impact of the storm is worst in the Sundarbans delta - which straddles both Bangladesh and West Bengal - and is famous for its mangrove forests and rare Royal Bengal tigers. The damage to the mangrove forest has been considerable and environmentalists fear that many tigers may have been washed away by the tidal surges.

Water was 'gushing at immense speed'

Oxfam researcher Sandhya Suri was in the Gabura area of south-west Bangladesh when Cyclone Aila struck earlier this week. Here, her eyewitness account shows the devastating human cost of the disaster.

As we approached Gabura we could see a major break in the embankment. It collapsed before the high tide even arrived. The cyclone caused even more destruction, with a tidal surge of between seven and nine feet. There were multiple breaks. Now the entire Gabura union is under water. At the main embankment, water is gushing at an immense speed, increasing its intensity with the tide. Hundreds of people are hungry and thirsty. Local shopkeepers are not opening up for fear of looting. Lenin, the chairman of Gabura Union told us that children had not even seen a biscuit since yesterday. Many are trying to leave, others hang on, resolute on guarding their belongings. For this reason, there are few people in the cyclone shelters. The whole area is water-logged. There are dead domestic animals floating in the water.

We were taken by boat to near the shelter where 13 corpses were laid out: eight children, the rest women. A man was still searching for his six-month-old child's body, washed from his lap during the cyclone. They were still searching for many other dead bodies. As high tide approached we saw many more people with their belongings on boats leaving the place, stating that the water level will go up by another two feet at least and there is no way they can stay here. Another corpse of a man was discovered. His body, along with the 13 mentioned before, was brought across the river to Bangshipur for a funeral. The army is now in the area and some water is coming in for people to drink. An Oxfam team will soon be arriving to assess what more can be done to bring crucial help to the community.



Diarrhoea breaks out in storm-hit areas

People remain water-logged after 5 days of deluge diarrhea breaks out in storm-hit areas:
Diarrhea has broken out in the cyclone Aila-hit coastal areas of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Bhola and Hatiya for lack of safe drinking water. At least four people have been reported to have died of diarrhoea in the cyclone affected district of Satkhira alone yesterday, according to local officials. The dead were identified as Abdul Wahab of Mirganj village in Shymnagar upazila, his son Khokan, and Wasek Ali and Mostafa Kazi of Protabnagar village in Ashashuni upazila. Medical teams working in cyclone hit areas fear an outbreak of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea and typhoid from a lack of clean drinking water. Many village wells have been submerged by salty water, making them unfit for drinking, they said. Local UP chairmen, members and leaders also said diarrhoea and skin disease were breaking out in the area as flood waters became stagnant and polluted. They say that many in the storm-hit areas now face acute clean water shortages as floodwater becomes stagnant and polluted. Meanwhile, inadequate medical teams and medicines have made the situation critical. Doctors say they fear an acute outbreak of diarrhoea after the cyclone hit the south and south western part of the country on Monday. At least 176 people died in the cyclone while hundreds of people are made homeless. Medical chief of Khulna district Lutfur Rahman Khan told reporters that there is an acute shortage of drinking water and as a result diarrhoea has broken out, days after the cyclone hit in the region. "The situation is bad and it's a race against time to prevent a full-scale epidemic from breaking out," he said Dr Khan said drinking water is in short supply and the salty water could not be treated with purification tablets and water-treatment facilities brought in by the army were also unable to purify sea water. Sources said thousands of villagers in Bagerhat, Satkhira, Khulna, Bhola and Noakhali now cry for food and drinking water for survival, as relief operations are insufficient to deal with the enormity of the situation. People, particularly those living in remote areas, are the worst-sufferers, as relief materials could not reach them even after four days of the cyclone. Our Satkhira Correspondent said medical teams are not sufficient to treat hundreds of diarrhea patients. Minister for Food and Disaster Management Dr Abdur Razzaque had nearly a four-hour meeting yesterday in Satkhira with the local administration to ensure supply of relief materials for Aila victims. Lt Col Zillur Rahman, who is coordinating the army relief activities in Satkhira, told the meeting that relief did not reach many remote areas when the government officials claimed sending relief materials to each remote area. "A woman dropped to my foot and begged simply for a bottle of water to give her kid who remained unfed for the last three days," the colonel said. Bhola correspondent many reported people were stranded in isolated chars of the district where government relief had not reached yet.

Thousands without food, water; diseases break out

Dhaka, May 29 (bdnews24.com)—Thousands of marooned people in many cyclone-hit coastal areas in the south and southwest have received no food and other relief goods, five days after cyclone Aila ravaged through the coasts of Barisal and Khulna, killing 178 lives.The acute crisis of pure drinking water is feared to trigger diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases. Four deaths have been reported in two affected upazilas in Satkhira on Thursday. Ten people are reported to be missing while 6708 were injured in the onslaught of Aila. Food and disaster minister Abdur Razzaq told the reporters on Thursday that 7,83,286 families in 15 districts were affected by the cyclone. He said the families of the deceased were initially given Tk 5000 which would subsequently rise to Tk 20,000.

Bagerhat

About five lakh people in the four coastal areas of Mongla, Rampal, Sharankhola and Morelganj are suffering terribly for lack of pure drinking water. Rabeya Khatun, a woman Union Parishad member of Southkhali Union under Sharankhola Upazila, said the water of all the ponds became salty which could not be used for washing hands and faces let alone drinking. Water resources minister Romesh Chandra Sen on Thursday visited the damaged dams and distributed relief goods among the affected people.

Patuakhali

The remotest char areas of Patuakhali have not yet received any relief. Thousands of marooned people are eagerly waiting for relief. Shortage of pure drinking water is also soaring. However, control room of the deputy commissioner reported that Tk 9 lakh and 610 metric tones of rice have been distributed among the affected people. Some places including Patuakhali municipality are still waterlogged.

Barguna

Communications to some areas including Burir Char is still cut off from the rest of the district and some 40000 families of the district have not had any relief. However, district relief and rehabilitation officials said 600 tones of rice and Tk 7 lakh have been distributed.

Khulna

Most of the places of Kayra and Dakop upazilas are still submerged. Different political parties including BNP are participating in the relief work. Locals complained a hike in price of daily essentials.

Satkhira

Diarrhoea and other skin diseases are breaking out for a lack of fresh water. Four people reportedly died of diarrhoea in the district. Irregularities and mismanagement were reported in relief distribution in some areas.

29 May 2009

Aila victims cry for water & food

In the aftermath of Cyclone Aila, thousands of villagers in Bagerhat, Satkhira, Khulna, Bhola and Noakhali now cry for food and drinking water for survival, as relief operations are insufficient to deal with the enormity of the situation. People, living in remote areas, are the worst-sufferers, as relief materials could not reach them even after four days of the cyclone Aila that smashed the coastal belt on Monday, UNB correspondents report after visiting different affected places. In some places, people are forced to drink polluted water to quench their thirst. Diarrhoea has broken out in the cyclone-hit areas and it may soon take epidemic form unless the government provides water purification tablets and medicines to people in such areas. Medical teams are not sufficient to treat hundreds of diarrhoea patients. Four people have so far died of diarrhoea in Satkhira, reports UNB correspondent. Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzaque had nearly a four-hour meeting till 1:00am today in Satkhira with the local administration to ensure supply of relief materials for Aila victims. Lt Col Zillur Rahman, who is coordinating the army relief activities in Satkhira, told the meeting in presence of food and disaster management minister that relief did not reach many remote areas when the government officials claimed sending relief materials to each remote area. “A woman dropped to my foot and begged simply for a bottle of water to give her kid who remained unfed for the last three days,” the army officer said while narrating the actual scenario of relief distribution. UNB Bhola correspondent said many people remain half-fed for the last three days. “Some local NGOs are working with the government but supply of relief materials is very poor,” he said. Many people were stranded in some 20 isolated chars where government relief has not reached yet. UNB Khulna correspondent said people were not prepared for such disaster. People’s misery has doubled, as the government could not send the cyclone warning quickly, like it had done before the Cyclone Sidr. He said over 200 people are still missing in Khulna and survivors in remote areas are crying for food and water. A resident in Hatiya of Noakhali told UNB that three navy ships have distributed relief packets containing 500 grams of chira (flattened rice), one candle and a bottle of water. They distributed 250 such packets at Tamruddin union and 125 each at Char King union and Sukhchar on Wednesday, he said adding that the relief was too scanty to meet the demand. Amena Begum, a 63-year-old woman at Padmapukur union in Satkhira, said: “I can’t express my grief, everything seems meaningless. How can I survive as my key means of earning, a cow, has died. Also I’m homeless now.” Mamunur Rahman, another cyclone victim from the same union, said he is in great trouble, unable to manage food for his three-member family. He said he had been given meager relief only once. “I can't say how I feel when my three-year-old child Nazma cries for food. I can’t do anything,” he said, adding that he would manage to survive with his family if drinking water could be found. A similar scenario prevailed everywhere, as the correspondents found while talking to dozens of people in Bhola, Satkhira, Khulna and Hatiya. Most of the people were seen crying for water, food and fuel to cook foods. Diarrhoea has broken out in the cyclone-hit coastal areas of Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira, Bhola and Hatiya for lack of safe drinking water. Inadequate medical teams and medicines have made the situation critical, UNB correspondents said. Satkhira Civil Surgeon Dr Md Ebadullah told the reporters that 37 medical teams are working in the affected areas of the district.

Cyclone Aila in Bangladesh & eastern India

Save the Children has dispatched emergency assessment teams to southwestern Bangladesh and eastern India and is preparing to provide clean water, replacement items and child-protection programs to families affected by Cyclone Aila, which struck the two countries on Monday, leaving coastal areas underwater. An estimated 3 million Bangladeshis and 2 million Indians — at least half of them children — have been affected by the storm. The death toll for both countries is approaching 200.The cyclone's initial impact washed away thousands of mud houses and other homes and strong winds toppled more. Thirteen-foot waves damaged river and flood-control embankments and dykes, putting hundreds of coastal villages underwater — 200 in India alone. Heavy rains have triggered flooding, which has submerged thousands of thatched houses.

Families Lose Everything

"Families have lost their homes, livestock, crops, access to work and food and, in many cases, clean water and sanitation. Daily life is a struggle, and thousands of children are at risk," said Ned Olney, vice president for Save the Children's global humanitarian response. "We are working to get water treatment plants up and running so that a bad situation does not get much worse through the spread of disease."

In addition to deploying water-treatment plants, Save the Children has staff in the disaster area to begin distribution of essential household items, identify sites for child-friendly spaces and to assess other issues confronting children.People in both countries have sought shelter on higher ground, in school buildings, government offices and cyclone shelters. In India, 400,000 people were reported marooned, and a regional official said stormy conditions and turbulent rivers prevented the initial delivery of assistance. Save the Children needs your support to help meet the most critical needs of children and families in the Cyclone Aila. Your donation will help provide drinking water, food distribution and other necessities.


DHAKA (Reuters) – Nearly 200 people have been killed by a cyclone that ripped through Bangladesh and eastern India, while millions remained marooned by floodwater or forced to live in shelters.The death toll in Bangladesh rose to more than 130 following recovery of dozens of bodies Tuesday, newspapers and private television channels said, while Indian officials said at least 64 people had died in West Bengal state. Cyclone Aila slammed into parts of coastal Bangladesh and eastern India Monday, triggering tidal surges and flooding that forced people from their homes. Officials in both countries said they feared the death tolls would rise although relief and rescue efforts were being intensified.

"Millions of people have been affected by the cyclone, with half a million in shelters and another half a million forced from their homes or were marooned," a disaster control official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters in Dhaka. Officials in Bangladesh moved about 500,000 people to temporary shelters after they left their homes to escape huge tidal waves churned by winds up to 100 kph (60 mph). Heavy rain triggered by the storm also raised river levels and burst mud embankments in the Sundarbans delta in the neighboring eastern Indian state of West Bengal. "So far, we have got reports of 64 deaths in the state, including nine deaths in landslides in the Darjeeling hills on Tuesday," West Bengal's chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty told reporters in Kolkata. In Bangladesh, the worst affected area was the Satkhira district, near the port of Mongla, where a local official said 31 bodies were found in one village. "The situation here is alarming," Mohammad Abdus Samad, deputy commissioner of Satkhira, told Reuters by telephone.

CROPS DAMAGED

Large areas of crops were destroyed in both countries by the cyclone, officials said, adding they were assessing the damage. Many farmers have lost their rice just ready to be harvested. "Allah has taken it all from me. I have been made a pauper," said Mohar Ali, a farmer. Aila swept many areas still recovering from Cyclone Sidr in November 2007, which killed 3,500 people in Bangladesh and made at least a million homeless. Bangladesh officials said at least 100 people were missing after Monday's cyclone. Some aid workers said they feared several hundred people might have been killed by Aila, which followed the less lethal Cyclone Bijli that killed a only few people in April. Army, navy and coastguards were helping civil officials and volunteers to search

for the missing and pick up people marooned in hundreds of villages, caught in chest or shoulder-high waters, witnesses said. "Continuing rain and wind have slowed our efforts," one official said. Bangladesh's food and disaster management minister, Abdur Razzaque, who visited some of the battered areas Tuesday, said authorities were trying to bring the marooned families to safety and provide them food and shelter. Witnesses said many cyclone survivors faced a shortage of food and drinking water in areas still under storm surge. In West Bengal, the Indian army and government aid workers Tuesday began an operation to provide relief to more than 400,000 people marooned in the Sundarbans delta region. "We have moved two columns, each with 100 personnel, to Sundarbans for relief," said Mahesh Upasani, a defense spokesman.