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Cablegate: Usaid/Ofda Cyclone Sidr Situation Report #7: Usaid/Dart

VZCZCXRO8788
OO RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #1870/01 3331204
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291204Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5687
INFO RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9396
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 1034
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0324
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 2614
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 8190
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8286
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1919
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0415
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0596
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0046
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DHAKA 001870

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SES-O
DEPT FOR SCA/PB, SCA/EX
DCHA/OFDA FOR ROBERT THAYER
AID/W FOR AA MARK WARD AND ANE ANNE DIX
DCHA/FFP FOR MATTHEW NIMS AND PAUL NOVICK
ROME FOR FODAG
BANGKOK FOR RDM/A TOM DOLAN, ROB BARTON
KATHMANDU FOR USAID OFDA BILL BERGER AND SUE MCINTYRE
TREASURY FOR ELIZABETH WEISS AND SUSAN CHUN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL ASEC CASC AMGT SOCI ECON PINR EAGR SENV
BG

SUBJECT: USAID/OFDA Cyclone Sidr Situation Report #7: USAID/DART
Assessment of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Conditions in Dublar
Char, Khulna Division


1. Summary. In conjunction with USAID/Bangladesh and the Government
of Bangladesh's (GOB) Department of Public Health Engineering
(DPHE), USAID's Disaster Response Team (USAID/DART) assessed water,
sanitation, and hygiene conditions in Dublar Char, Khulna Division,
which the Bangladesh military identified as critically water
insecure. The USAID/DART reported that the Bangladesh navy has
successfully met the immediate water needs of cyclone-affected
populations in Dublar Char. Additionally, the USAID/DART did not
observe prevalent gaps in other humanitarian sectors, including
food, shelter, health, and livelihoods. Humanitarian indicators and
conditions are at pre-cyclone levels. The USAID/DART recommends
medium to long-term interventions to improve water, sanitation, and
hygiene conditions in Dublar Char. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
IMPACT OF CYCLONE SIDR ON DUBLAR CHAR, KHULNA DIVISION
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. The Bangladesh military identified Dublar Char, Shoron Khola,
Galachipa, Kalapara, and Barguna as the five most water insecure
areas due to the impact of Cyclone Sidr. On November 28, the
USAID/DART's water, sanitation, and hygiene advisor and information
officer, together with USAID/Bangladesh and DPHE, traveled to Dublar
Char to evaluate emergency water needs and identify possible gaps in
humanitarian assistance. The Bangladesh navy escorted the
assessment team around the island and provided comprehensive
information regarding the water situation.

3. Dublar Char, a low-lying island that forms the outermost area of
the Sundarbans Region, is approximately 80 square kilometers and
comprises 9 smaller islands. Dublar Char houses no permanent
inhabitants; rather, 20,000 to 25,000 migratory fishermen come
seasonally between the months of October and February. Nearly the
entire population is adult male. The USAID/DART identified this
population as non-vulnerable, resilient, and physically strong. The
residents of Dublar Char face perennial flooding and have
accordingly developed strong coping mechanisms. Traditional
examples include the burying of personal assets, such as jerry cans
and dry fruit, in preparation for cyclones and floods.

4. The Bangladesh navy reported the death of approximately 250
people in Dublar Char due to the impact of Cyclone Sidr. To prepare
for and mitigate the effects of cyclones, the GOB has built five
cyclone shelters that can each house 2,000 people in the most
extreme conditions. Heavy rains and storm surge from Cyclone Sidr
destroyed more than 200 homes on the island. However, residents
immediately built new temporary houses by salvaging shelter
materials and wood from damaged trees.

-----------------------
USAID/DART OBSERVATIONS
-----------------------

5. The USAID/DART observed that emergency water needs are being met.
A GOB barge moored directly off of the coast carries 480 metric
tons of clean water, where fishermen can travel via boat to fill
their jerry cans with safe drinking water. A Bangladesh navy ship
also positioned off of the coast maintains large water reservoirs
and bottles of water. The USAID/DART commended the Bangladesh navy
in meeting the emergency water needs of cyclone-affected

DHAKA 00001870 002 OF 002


populations. International donors are also providing water
assistance in Dublar Char, as the Japan International Cooperation
Agency has provided five small-scale water purification filters and
several storage bladders. Furthermore, the temporary residents of
the island have begun re-digging shallow wells and re-using
traditional surface water sources, such as ponds.

6. The USAID/DART reported that the impact of Cyclone Sidr did not
significantly disrupt livelihoods, as residents of Dublar Char
almost immediately recommenced fishing activities. Likewise, these
populations do not face food insecurity due to the successful
resumption of fishing.

7. Due to the temporary nature of the community living in Dublar
Char, a methodical sanitation system was not in place prior to the
cyclone. Nevertheless, the Bangladesh navy reported no water-borne
disease outbreaks due to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene
conditions. Similarly, a permanent healthcare system did not exist
preceding the cyclone. The Bangladesh navy indicated the need for
more long-term health support and surveillance information on
diarrhea and other water-borne diseases like cholera.

------------------------------------------
USAID/DART RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
------------------------------------------

8. No further humanitarian assistance is required in Dublar Char, as
the GOB and Bangladesh navy are successfully meeting emergency
needs. The USAID/DART concludes that island residents south of the
Sundarbans do not face critical humanitarian challenges, since
populations of Dublar Char exemplify small, transitory fishing
communities throughout the area.

9. Although immediate needs are being met, the USAID/DART recommends
medium to long-term interventions to improve water, sanitation, and
hygiene conditions in Dublar Char, including the development of
large-diameter, protected shallow wells with sufficient storage
capacity to serve large populations. To improve this water supply,
the USAID/DART recommends temporary water treatment and pumping
systems during the fishing season.

10. For future flood and cyclone responses, the USAID/DART
encourages the stockpiling of water tablets for short-term,
household water purification needs in the region.

11. To help reduce future cyclone-related death tolls, the
USAID/DART recommends the construction of additional cyclone
shelters in Dublar Char.


PASI

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