Buena Park, CA (November 16, 2007) – Only months after half the country was submerged under flood waters, Cyclone Sidr has devastated the southwestern coastal belt of Bangladesh, forcing nearly 600,000 people to be evacuated from their homes.
More than 600 are thought to be dead and hundreds have been reported injured or missing. Islamic Relief has launched a $6 million appeal to help the victims. An initial allocation of $ 1 million has already been made to provide immediate relief to evacuees and victims of the cyclone.
Islamic Relief is appealing to the public to aid cyclone victims by donating to its Bangladesh Emergency fund. The category 4 storm, which made landfall on Thursday, triggered a 15-foot high tidal surge and whipped up wind speeds of 220 km per hour. In its wake, the super cyclonic storm devastated three coastal towns. The full extent of the damage is unclear as many areas still remain cut-off with phone, power and communication lines down. Bangladesh has been plunged into darkness as many power plants were damaged by the cyclone.
Officials say it could take three more days to restore services to full capacity. Communication systems are down and roads are blocked by uprooted trees and power poles.
Islamic Relief’s aid efforts will include providing shelter in local schools, buildings and mosques; hygiene kits consisting of toothbrushes/toothpastes, hand sanitizers, hand towels, and other items; and medical care to treat the injured.
Airplanes at the country’s main airport in Dhaka have been grounded and river ferries are not running. Crop plantations have been badly damaged adding to the prolonged suffering of the villagers who had already lost two crop harvests in the floods earlier this year.