Search

 

Cablegate: Usaid/Ofda Cyclone Sidr Situation Report #5: Usaid/Dart

VZCZCXRO5270
OO RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #1847/01 3301159
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 261159Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5652
INFO RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9386
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 1027
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0316
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 2609
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 8185
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8271
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1914
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0408
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0589
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0039
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 03 DHAKA 001847

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 #5: USAID/DART
Field Report and Initial Humanitarian Assessments


1. Summary. Tropical Cyclone Sidr made landfall in southern
Bangladesh on November 15, 2007, leading to 3,061 deaths, affecting
more than 6.8 million people, and damaging more than 1.2 million
homes, according to the Government of Bangladesh's (GOB) Disaster
Management Bureau and the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) as of
November 25. In response, USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance
Response Team (USAID/DART) to assess the humanitarian situation on
the ground, provide recommendations on priority needs, and assist
with U.S. Government (USG) relief efforts. From November 21 to 25,
the USAID/DART and others conducted an initial field assessment of
affected areas, traveling to Barisal, Patharghata, Patuakhali, and
Bagerhat towns, as well as coastal villages south and southeast of
Barguna town. Communities residing in areas south of Barguna face
the most critical challenges due to the impact of the cyclone,
including the highest number of casualties, destroyed homes, and the
loss of livestock, crops, and household assets. The USAID/DART
identified priority needs in emergency food aid, water, sanitation,
and hygiene, emergency relief commodities, and shelter. In the
coming days, the USAID/DART will continue conducting in-depth
assessments to evaluate humanitarian needs and target possible gaps
in services where USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
(USAID/OFDA) could provide additional support. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------
USAID/DART TRAVELS TO CYCLONE-AFFECTED AREAS
--------------------------------------------

2. On November 21, members from the USAID/DART departed Dhaka for
Barisal town in southern Bangladesh. The USAID/DART participated in
an interagency assessment mission of cyclone-affected areas in
conjunction with the Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team (HAST), the
Army Medical Corps, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), and
USAID/Bangladesh. On November 22, the joint team accompanied
implementing partner Save the Children to Patharghata town to
witness a distribution of emergency relief commodities. On November
23, some members of the assessment team traveled with
non-governmental organization (NGO) partner World Vision to Bagerhat
town, Khulna Division. Other members met with NGO partner CARE in
Barguna town.

3. On November 24, the U.S. military teams remained in Barisal and
Patuakhali for additional assessments, while the USAID/DART and
USAID/Bangladesh traveled by boat to cyclone-affected areas south
and southeast of Barguna town. In Nayabhunguni village,
Chotobaisdia Union, the USAID/DART reported that heavy rains and
storm surge led to the destruction of 22 homes located between high
and low banks along the riverbed. Most displaced families are
currently living with neighbors. In this village, the provision of
food aid, shelter, and medical care are humanitarian priorities,
according to the USAID/DART. The team also visited Charagangga
village, Borobaisdia Union, where the impact of the cyclone
destroyed approximately 300 homes. Here, the USAID/DART identified
emergency needs in repairing dam walls along rivers, providing
shelter, and constructing cyclone centers. Subsequently, the
USAID/DART visited Taktabunia village, Moudubi village, and Alipur
town along the southern coast of Barguna District. The interagency
assessment team returned to Dhaka on November 25.

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

DHAKA 00001847 002 OF 003

4. The USAID/DART reported that current statistics on affected
populations are not consistent. Ongoing, detailed assessments from
implementing partners will better inform these numbers. USAID/OFDA
can expect initial results from these humanitarian assessments in
the coming days.

5. In areas north and northeast of Barguna town, the USAID/DART
witnessed "pockets of destruction" caused by wind and storm surge.
In areas south of Barguna town, destruction is more widespread,
marked by damaged homes, agricultural fields, fisheries, and loss of
livestock. In addition, most fatalities due to the cyclone occurred
in these southern areas. The USAID/DART described areas south of
Barguna town as the most cyclone-affected. However, if the cyclone
had occurred during high tide, given the 8 to 10 foot tidal change,
storm surge and resultant flooding could have killed tens of
thousands of additional people.

6. The USAID/DART reported adequate road access to most areas on the
mainland. Due to a GOB policy allowing residents to harvest fallen
trees free of charge, the roads were quickly cleared of debris and
collapsed trees caused by the cyclone. WFP in Dhaka also reported
that main road access to most affected areas is now available,
though slow and arduous. The main challenge remains the "final
mile," as described by the GOB and relief agencies, in reaching
beneficiaries. However, the USAID/DART indicated that several
remote islands and some coastal areas remain accessible only by
boat. The U.S. military is investigating appropriate areas for
marine and air access to support USG relief efforts. In Barguna
District, the Bangladesh navy facilitates emergency relief
activities through Patharghata, Talibana, and Ashar Char ports.

7. In Helbonia village, Dhalua Union, the USAID/DART encountered a
settlement of 800 to 1,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) along
the road. Although the USAID/DART observed the presence of GOB food
rations at the site of displacement, many of the IDPs reportedly had
not received food assistance. The USAID/DART also noted that
displaced households had constructed shelter out of mats rather than
plastic sheeting and other emergency supplies, suggesting that these
IDPs had moved to higher ground as a standard coping mechanism for
annual flooding.

--------------------------
USAID/DART RECOMMENDATIONS
---------------------------

8. According to the USAID/DART, Save the Children and World Vision
are the most operational NGOs in the highly-affected areas. Even
though CARE has food capacity in the country, it needs logistical
support to move emergency food commodities into affected areas. The
USAID/DART recommends and supports CARE's efforts to use U.S.
military transport.

9. The USAID/DART reported that emergency food aid is the highest
priority for humanitarian assistance in response to the cyclone. In
the most affected areas, household reserves of food have been
depleted or destroyed. Food distributions will assist affected
populations in the short-term. Ongoing assessments will provide
information on medium to long-term needs. In addition, the
USAID/DART questioned the actual percentage of crops destroyed by
the cyclone, as reports from the GOB and aid agencies fluctuate from

DHAKA 00001847 003 OF 003


30 to 90 percent total crop loss. If the percentage of crop loss is
indeed high, affected communities may experience food insecurity and
will need agricultural and livelihoods assistance in the medium
term.

10. The USAID/DART reported that the second humanitarian priority is
water, sanitation, and hygiene. [Note. The Bangladesh military has
identified water, sanitation, and hygiene as the first priority
humanitarian need, while health care constitutes the second
priority. End note.] The Bangladesh military and NGOs express the
necessity of deploying water purification units in southern coastal
areas, particularly where water sources are saline. The USAID/DART
supports this intervention in areas where high salinity levels or
destroyed water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure have created
unprotected water sources. Further assessments will inform the
potential need for deployment of water purification units. The
USAID/DART recommends immediately disinfecting existing water
sources that are contaminated, increased preparedness for disease
outbreaks, and continual hygiene promotion regarding safe drinking
water and hand washing. Ongoing assessments will provide more
detailed information on medium to long-term interventions in water,
sanitation, and hygiene.

11. The USAID/DART identified emergency relief commodities as the
third priority need, including water containers, blankets, winter
clothing, soap, and cooking utensils. Most household assets were
swept away by the storm surge, particularly in the most affected
areas south of Barguna town and along waterways.

12. The USAID/DART identified shelter as an additional priority
need. While the team witnessed widespread damage to homes in highly
affected areas south of Barguna town, damage to shelter existed
mostly in pocketed areas north of Barguna. More detailed analysis
is forthcoming following ongoing humanitarian assessments. The
USAID/DART reported that immediate shelter needs include the
distribution of corrugated iron sheeting, as affected communities
have already begun rebuilding homes by salvaging materials.
Medium-term shelter interventions will involve disaster risk
reduction activities, such as constructing elevated,
structurally-sound shelters.


PASI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN SDG: UN Appoints Twenty Eminent Thinkers To Shed New Light On The World’s Greatest Challenges

New York, 21 January 2021 – Twenty prominent personalities, globally renowned for their intellectual leadership in economic and social fields, will form the second United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, the ... More>>

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>