Cyclone Mahasen: a report from Bangladesh
by Khaza Uddin, Save the Children in Bangladesh
Thursday 16 May, 2.30pm BST: Communication and transportation have been disrupted, cutting off several communities in the south of Bangladesh. At least 25 villages in Patuakhali District were flooded yesterday, due to a storm surge that washed away the flood-control dams built to protect the people living near the river.
This storm surge was reported to be at least 5 feet in height and damaged 500 houses. In another southern district, Jhalokathi, heavy rainfall is ongoing and most rivers are continuing to rise. Cyclone shelters are packed with vast numbers of people and it is feared current dry food supplies are insufficient to meet demand.
The Bangladeshi government has ordered 1 million people in 15 coastal districts to take shelter in safe places; however, the number of cyclone shelters is not believed to be adequate to accommodate all the evacuees.
Save the Children is responding
It is predicted that at least 8 million people – 4.1 million of them in Bangladesh – will be affected by Cyclone Mahasen. Save the Children have already initiated our response, targeting the districts of Barisal, Patuakhai, Barguna, Khulna & Bagherhat, Satkhira, Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar in partnership with 8 coast-based implementing partners.
We are readying 1,500 ready-to-use food packs and 500 packs of other life-saving relief items, and have mobilized 5,000 trained youth volunteers and 700 village disaster-management committees who are all ready to respond.
Damage assessment teams are also ready and will work alongside other national and international NGOs. Save the Children also has 4 speedboats ready to assist the endangered communities, particularly their children, in each sub-district affected by the storm surges and flooding.