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Cablegate: Usaid/Ofda Cyclone Sidr Situation Report #6: Summary Of

VZCZCXRO6725
OO RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #1860/01 3311316
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271316Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5674
INFO RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9394
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 1032
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0321
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 2612
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 8188
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8278
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1917
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0413
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0594
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0044
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 001860

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 #6: Summary of
Initial Sector Cluster Meetings in Dhaka

REF: (A) DHAKA 1835; (B) DHAKA 1838

1. Summary. The impact of Tropical Cyclone Sidr in southern
Bangladesh has led to 3,243 deaths, affected more than 7 million
people, and damaged 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 26. Members of USAID's
Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART), along with
USAID/Bangladesh, the U.S. military, other donors, and
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are attending sector cluster
meetings in Dhaka to discuss humanitarian priorities, engage with
GOB officials, coordinate response mechanisms, and share information
on relief activities and field assessments. Representatives of the
U.S. Government will continue to attend cluster meetings in the
coming days. Along with information gathered from field
assessments, the USAID/DART will draw on information shared at
cluster meetings to identify priority needs as well as gaps in
humanitarian assistance where USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign
Disaster Assistance could provide additional support. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- --------
USAID/DART AND USAID/BANGLADESH ATTEND SECTOR CLUSTER MEETINGS
--------------------------------------------- --------

2. On November 25, the USAID/DART and USAID/Bangladesh attended the
first food cluster meeting, which was chaired by WFP. Although GOB
officials were absent, this meeting served as an opportunity for
international donors and operational partners to discuss the food
security situation and coordinate relief efforts. To address the
food needs of affected populations, the GOB will expand its existing
vulnerable group feeding (VGF) program to target an estimated 2.6
million households in 30 districts. Through the VGF program, the
GOB will distribute 15 kilograms of rice per month to affected
households. The GOB may expand the number of households under the
VGF program. At the cluster meeting, WFP announced its emergency
operation targeting 2.2 million beneficiaries in Barisal, Bhola,
Patuakhali, Barguna, Jhalakati, Pirojpur, Bagerhat, Khulna, and
Satkhira districts, as per reftel (A). In addition, the U.N. Food
and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will commence a comprehensive
food and livelihoods assessment on December 3 to determine the
impact of the cyclone on agricultural production, fisheries, and
forestry. Furthermore, FAO plans to provide comprehensive
recommendation for livelihoods assistance and recovery.

3. On November 25, USAID/Bangladesh attended the water, sanitation,
and hygiene cluster meeting, chaired by the U.N. Children's Fund
(UNICEF). The GOB's Department of Public Health Engineering is
coordinating government response to water, sanitation, and hygiene
needs arising from Cyclone Sidr. Participants discussed various
measures to meet immediate and long-term water, sanitation, and
hygiene needs of affected populations, including chlorination of
existing wells, cleaning of open water sources, hygiene promotion,
provision of water treatment tablets to affected households, and
rehabilitation of sanitation infrastructure destroyed by the
cyclone. While UNICEF highlighted that water needs and appropriate
responses vary from locality to locality, coordination efforts are
integral in gathering information and identifying prevalent gaps.

4. As per reftel (B), the USAID/DART and USAID/Bangladesh attended
the first health cluster meeting on November 25, where the U.N.
World Health Organization, the GOB, and NGOs did not report

DHAKA 00001860 002 OF 002


significant gaps in health services. The USAID/DART also discussed
the current health situation with Mdecins Sans Frontihres (MSF),
which is conducting assessments of affected areas in Bhada, Bhola,
and Barguna districts. MSF has observed no significant emergency
health needs in these areas, but will continue to monitor
conditions. To date, MSF has distributed 5,000 hygiene kits to
mitigate the adverse impact of the cyclone on public health.

5. The International Federation of the Red Cross is leading the
emergency shelter cluster. The first meeting took place on November
25 and the next one will occur on November 28. Currently, the
cluster is developing a low-cost shelter design intended to
standardize shelter interventions throughout cyclone-affected areas.
The cluster expects to finalize this design within the next 10
days, drawing on the most up to date information from ongoing field
assessments.

6. On November 26, the USAID/DART, USAID/Bangladesh, and U.S. Marine
logistics attended the first meeting of the interagency Logistics
Response Team (LRT), chaired by WFP. The LRT is in essence
functioning as the logistics cluster, as a full cluster has not been
activated at present. Overall, partners reported that no apparent
logistical constraints or significant gaps exist at this time. This
account might be attributed in part to the success of previous and
ongoing USAID programs in disaster preparedness and mitigation.
However, humanitarian organizations face challenges in finding
sufficient warehouse space both in Dhaka and cyclone-affected areas
in the south. WFP is transporting approximately 20 metric tons of
high energy biscuits to affected areas using Bangladesh military
helicopters. No GOB representatives, either from the military or
the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management, were present at this
meeting. As a result, this meeting did not address the status of
government efforts to transport GOB relief commodities.

7. On November 26, the USAID/DART and USAID/Bangladesh attended an
information management and coordination meeting, chaired by WFP.
The head of the GOB's Comprehensive Disaster Management Program
outlined how the government obtains information and posts daily
situation reports on its public website, located at www.cdmp.org.bd.
In addition, participants discussed how to design user-friendly
websites that could improve information dissemination among the
various humanitarian responders. To enhance information management
and coordination during the Cyclone Sidr response, a sub-group of
technical specialists will work to further refine the current
websites.


PASI

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