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World Bank Offers $250M To Cyclone-Hit Bangladesh

World Bank offers $250 million to cyclone-hit Bangladesh

As United Nations agencies continue their efforts to assist the over 3 million Bangladeshis affected by Cyclone Sidr, the World Bank announced today that it will make available up to $250 million to aid recovery and strengthen mitigation efforts in the wake of the deadly storm.

The funds will be used to provide food, medical supplies and cash grants, as well as for infrastructure rehabilitation and flood mitigation, the Bank said in a press release.

Cyclone Sidr, the second strongest of three major storms in recorded history to have struck Bangladesh, made landfall on 16 November, wreaking death and destruction in its path.

The Government estimates that over 2,400 people are dead and nearly 1,500 missing. In addition, the storm is responsible for the destruction of some 273,000 homes and over 760,000 acres of crops.

UN agencies on the ground, including the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), are currently providing essential supplies such as high-energy biscuits, water purification packets and shelter materials to tens of thousands of families. A UN team is also assessing the damage and the needs in some of the worst affected districts.

World Bank Country Director Xian Zhu commended Bangladesh for the progress that the disaster-prone country has made in dealing with the impact of periodic floods and cyclones.

"In 1970, over 500,000 people died following the impact of a cyclone," said Mr. Zhu. "As responses to disasters have improved and as some shelter infrastructure has been put in place, death tolls have become smaller but Bangladesh remains extremely vulnerable, the more so as climate change adds to its burden."

The Bank said the funds announced today will complement existing commitments made in response to massive floods in Bangladesh in August and September.


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