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World Vision Need Cash For Cyclone-Hit Bangladesh

World Vision Need Cash For Cyclone-Hit Bangladesh

As the death toll in the aftermath of Cyclone Sidr continues to rise, World Vision is providing immediate relief both in terms of supplies and funding.

While more than 2,000 bodies have been found so far this number will rise as more areas that were cut off become accessible.

The biggest need is for shelter. The Bangladesh government estimates more than 280,000 families have lost part or all of their homes.

The cyclone struck just as many were ready to harvest their crops. Initial estimates point to crop losses of around 70 per cent and a similar loss of livestock.

World Vision New Zealand is committing almost NZ $40,000 (US$30,000) to the immediate international response effort in Bangladesh. This will help to provide seven-day relief packs for 20,000 families. The packs contain food and non-food items.

The communities and families of 6,200 children sponsored by New Zealanders in the Chitalmari and Laudob Area Development Programmes are affected and will require additional funding in order to recover.

World Vision New Zealand programme officer Dayan Eager visited the area just three weeks ago.

"These communities are right on the coast. Many people there rely on fish and oyster farming for their livelihoods. The cyclone will have undone their hard work not to mention the damage to their homes. It will be impossible for these communities to recover without extra funding," he says.

World Vision New Zealand is appealing to the public to raise extra funds of at least NZ$300,000 for the communities affected.

To make a donation to World Vision's appeal for Bangladesh phone 0800 90 5000


Field workers say relatively low death toll is a blessing

Many media representatives talking to aid workers in Bangladesh are asking why the death toll seems so low a similar cyclone 16 years ago killed 140,000 people.

Some field workers have said that had Cyclone Sidr occurred in the 1990s, it would have killed 100,000 people.

Vince Edward, executive director of World Vision Bangladesh, says this is because of the community-based disaster management programmes that have been put in place by government and non-government organisations.

"Every World Vision area development programme has a disaster management unit with representatives from the communities, government, NGOs and religious leaders," he says.

These units, which run in conjunction with local governments, meet on a monthly basis and around disaster warnings to plan and coordinate a disaster contingency plan that is owned by the community. These plans are available at the village, subdistrict, district and state levels.

As a result of these contingency plans, more than 20,000 people took shelter from Cyclone Sidr in Mongla and Laudob ADP areas. The 31 cyclone shelters were built by World Vision Bangladesh. Schools were also designed to double as refuges.

Mr Edwards says public awareness in the area was also high, thanks to a mobile public address system that warned people of the impending disaster.

However the low death toll does not negate the very serious impact on the country's economy something Bangladesh cannot recover from without international help.


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