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Cablegate: Usaid/Ofda Cyclone Sidr Situation Report #11:

VZCZCXRO8670
OO RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #1925/01 3451013
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 111013Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5786
INFO RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9437
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 1068
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0364
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 2632
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 8221
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8326
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1952
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0440
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0621
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0071
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 06 DHAKA 001925

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 #11:
Demobilization of USAID/DART in Bangladesh


1. Summary. With the approach of the one-month anniversary of the
November 15 cyclone in Bangladesh as well as improvements in
humanitarian indicators, USAID's Disaster Assistance Response Team
(USAID/DART) will demobilize. USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign
Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) will now focus efforts on early
recovery. Close collaboration among the USAID/DART,
USAID/Bangladesh, the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, and the U.S. military
led to a well-coordinated, effective humanitarian response. The
interagency U.S. Government (USG) response worked together with the
Government of Bangladesh (GOB), U.N. agencies, and non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) to enhance response efforts and provide crucial
and timely assistance to cyclone-affected populations. To date,
USAID has provided more than $19.5 million in humanitarian
assistance to cyclone-affected communities in Bangladesh. Although
the Cyclone Sidr response signifies a holistic USG effort, this
cable summarizes USAID/OFDA's activities in Bangladesh to date and
highlights ongoing priorities as programs transition from relief to
early recovery. End summary.

------------
INTRODUCTION
------------

2. This report is submitted upon the demobilization of the
USAID/DART and subsequent USAID/OFDA focus to assist with early
recovery activities. Although this cable concentrates on the
activities of the USAID/DART during the humanitarian response
period, it is important to note that the Cyclone Sidr response was a
collaborative interagency USG effort among the U.S. Embassy in
Dhaka, USAID/Bangladesh, and the U.S. military. Indeed, the USG's
effective and well-coordinated efforts from the first hours after
the cyclone were critical to making the response a success.

3. USAID/OFDA recognizes that humanitarian indicators in Bangladesh
require continued monitoring and possibly additional support to
smooth the transition from relief to recovery. For this reason,
USAID/OFDA will maintain a presence in Bangladesh for the immediate
future to follow up on the interagency humanitarian response,
including monitoring USAID/OFDA-funded relief, transition, and
disaster preparedness programs. USAID/OFDA is working closely with
USAID/Bangladesh to ensure a seamless transition of operations from
relief to early recovery.

----------
BACKGROUND
----------

4. On November 15, 2007, Tropical Cyclone Sidr made landfall in
southern Bangladesh with winds of 155 miles per hour. As of
December 10, the impact of the cyclone had affected more than 8.9
million people, including 3,347 deaths, 871 missing, and more than
1.5 million damaged homes, according to the GOB's Disaster
Management Bureau. Residents of Bagerhat, Pirojpur, Barguna, and
Patuakhali districts suffered most of these casualties and damage to
homes, livestock, crops, and roads. On November 16, U.S. Charg
d'Affaires, a.i. Geeta Pasi declared a disaster due to the effects
of the cyclone. In response, USAID/OFDA has provided more than $4.5
million in assistance to date, and USAID's Office of Food for Peace
(USAID/FFP) has provided $15 million of P.L 480 Title II in
emergency food assistance.


DHAKA 00001925 002 OF 006


------------------------
DEPLOYMENT OF USAID/DART
------------------------

5. On November 17, within 48 hours of the cyclone, staff associated
with USAID/DART began arriving in Bangladesh. The mission of the
USAID/DART was to assess humanitarian needs on the ground, provide
technical assistance, coordinate response mechanisms in conjunction
with the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, USAID/Bangladesh, and the U.S.
military, and provide resources for quick impact relief activities.
At its peak, the USAID/DART numbered 10 members, including program
officers, sector specialists, an information officer, administrative
officer, military liaison officer, and a communications specialist.

-------------------------------
COORDINATION WITH U.S. MILITARY
-------------------------------

6. USAID/OFDA provided $250,000 to the U.S. Department of Defense
for the transportation of emergency relief supplies. Given the
significant U.S. military role in the disaster response,
coordination between civilian and military USG agencies was
essential, in order to leverage available resources effectively.
For example, the U.S. military provided tremendous logistical
capacity, including helicopter lift that made quick access to remote
areas possible, while the USAID/DART supplied the technical
expertise required to assess needs once those remote areas were
reached. As such, the U.S. military was instrumental in
transporting USAID/DART personnel into cyclone-affected areas to
conduct humanitarian assessments. During the Cyclone Sidr response,
this interaction and cooperation between the USAID/DART and the U.S.
military exemplifies how USG agencies can complement each other's
strengths to focus on a shared goal.

7. As humanitarian indicators have improved and interventions have
now shifted from addressing acute needs to recovery, unique U.S.
military assets are no longer required. On December 6, the final
Marine Corps helicopter carried humanitarian cargo from Barisal to
several remaining affected areas, as well as the last Air Force
fixed wing flights from Dhaka to Barisal. In total, U.S. C-130s
moved more than 327 metric tons (MT) of relief commodities from
Dhaka to Barisal before operations ended on December 6. U.S.
helicopters flew 118 cumulative sorties from Barisal to various
affected sites, transporting a total of 115 MT of goods and over
54,000 liters of water. In addition to logistical support, U.S.
military medical teams worked closely with Bangladeshi counterparts,
both military and civilian, to provide direct patient care in
affected areas. The U.S. army team was based at the Patuakhali
hospital, while smaller navy mobile medical teams moved throughout
cyclone-affected regions, treating more than 4,000 human patients
and 500 livestock in total.

--------------------------------
COORDINATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES
--------------------------------

8. To date, international donors have pledged more than $143 million
towards relief and recovery activities in Bangladesh, according to
the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. To
coordinate with other donors, GOB ministries, and aid agencies
responding to the cyclone, the USAID/DART and USAID/Bangladesh have

DHAKA 00001925 003 OF 006


attended regular U.N. cluster meetings in Dhaka. During these
meetings, partners have discussed humanitarian priorities, engaged
with GOB officials, coordinated response mechanisms, and shared
information on relief activities and field assessments. The
clusters responding to Cyclone Sidr include early recovery, food,
emergency shelter, health, logistics, information management and
coordination, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). As the
response has now shifted from emergency operations to early
recovery, USG representatives will continue to attend cluster
meetings in the coming days.

--------------------------------------------- ----
USAID/OFDA AND USAID/FFP ASSISTANCE TO BANGLADESH
--------------------------------------------- ----

9. To date, USAID has provided more than $19.5 million in
humanitarian assistance to cyclone-affected communities in
Bangladesh. USAID identified food, emergency relief supplies,
shelter, and WASH support as priority sectors for relief
operations.

10. Within 24 hours of the cyclone, USAID/OFDA was coordinating the
shipment of relief commodities from USAID/OFDA's warehouse in Dubai.
USAID/OFDA has provided nearly $735,000 in emergency relief
commodities, including transport costs, for cyclone-affected
populations in Bangladesh. USAID/OFDA has completed two flights of
emergency relief commodities, delivering a total of 15,000 blankets,
2,500 hygiene kits, 300 rolls of plastic sheeting, and 4,900 water
containers. Supplementing six water purification units, which were
already in country prior to the storm as part of ongoing
preparedness programs, USAID/OFDA provided eight additional units
and four 10,000 liter water bladders for the cyclone response,
improving access to clean water for approximately 80,000 people.

11. The USAID/DART identified shelter as one of the priority
sectors for assistance immediately following Cyclone Sidr. The
rapid initial U.N. emergency assessment team estimated 1.4 million
damaged houses in the cyclone-affected area. In response to the
cyclone, USAID/OFDA provided nearly $1.4 million in assistance to
the American Red Cross and NGO partners Save the Children and World
Vision for programs that included transitional shelter assistance
for more than 6,100 families. In addition, the USAID/DART Shelter
and Livelihoods Advisor worked closely with the U.N. shelter cluster
to help design a low cost shelter design that can be used to
standardize shelter assistance across the region in the early
recovery period. This design will be used as a shelter template to
calculate costs, resource requests, and provide consistent levels of
shelter assistance in the affected area. USAID/OFDA anticipates
that final shelter recommendations from the shelter cluster will be
available in late December.

12. In the WASH sector, USAID/OFDA has provided more than $1.8
million to support programs ensuring that households re-establish
access to safe drinking water supplies and sanitation facilities and
adopt safe hygiene behaviors. Despite initial concerns, the impact
of Cyclone Sidr has not resulted in water-borne disease outbreaks,
largely attributed to robust and coordinated efforts led by the U.N.
Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the GOB's Department of Public Health
Engineering, pre-positioned WASH supplies to help reduce risks and
save lives, and sufficient WASH infrastructure that survived the
storm. As the response has now transitioned from the acute

DHAKA 00001925 004 OF 006


emergency phase into early recovery, and initial stocks of water
purification tablets begin to deplete, the USAID/DART WASH Advisor
recommends attention and vigilant surveillance of water-borne
diseases. Continued WASH assistance includes the rehabilitation of
tube wells and pond sand filtration systems, as well as cleansing of
open source ponds used for drinking water. USAID/OFDA awarded
$700,000 to UNICEF for WASH activities, including the rehabilitation
of tube wells and the purchase of water purification tablets.

13. In livelihoods, USAID/DART field assessments identified farmers
and fishermen as being particularly hard hit by Cyclone Sidr.
Interruption to these livelihoods causes a ripple effect through
secondary livelihoods (day laborers) built around fishing and
farming. The USAID/DART Livelihoods Advisor recommends that
livelihoods assistance focuses on restoring productive assets to
farmers and fishermen in effort to get livelihoods back online.
Activities could include the distribution of agriculture inputs
(e.g., seeds, tools, and fertilizer) or support to fishermen to help
them repair boats and nets. The U.N. Food and Agriculture
Organization is currently distributing emergency seeds and
agricultural inputs to support families in livelihood
rehabilitation. USAID/Bangladesh's recovery program is also
including assistance to farmers and fishermen whose livelihoods were
disrupted by the cyclone.

14. In field assessments conducted by the USAID/DART Livelihoods
Advisor, the need for cash was consistently identified as critically
important for early recovery. To increase the purchasing power of
affected families, the USAID/DART advisor recommends cash
distributions, provided by the GOB and possibly by the World Bank,
as well as income-generating activities. With access to cash,
families can begin their recovery process by acquiring the assets
needed to restore their livelihoods, rebuild shelters, and replace
lost household items. The GOB is currently distributing cash of up
to $147 per family to compensate for losses related to the cyclone.
USAID/OFDA-funded cash-for-work programs implemented by World Vision
and Save the Children will also address the priority need for cash
interventions in early recovery activities.

15. Responding to the immediate food needs of cyclone-affected
populations, USAID/FFP allocated $15 million of P.L. 480 Title II
emergency food assistance. Initially, aid agencies and affected
residents had identified food as the most critical humanitarian
need. At this time, the U.N. food cluster, chaired by the U.N.
World Food Program (WFP), as well as the USAID/DART and NGOs
operating on the field all report that immediate food security needs
are being met. At present, the GOB and aid agencies are reporting
no instances of severe malnutrition or other problems to indicate a
lack of sufficient food intake. The USAID/DART FFP Officer
recommends that food aid partners now focus on ensuring that no
pocketed areas remain unserved and that systems are in place to
maintain distribution targets. The U.S. Embassy in Dhaka is also
considering the GOB's request for 500,000 MT of food aid to help
meet needs until the May 2008 harvest.

16. To ensure adequate distribution coverage and the maintenance of
both food security and nutritional status, the USAID/DART FFP
Officer also highlights the importance of continued assessment and
monitoring throughout affected areas. As response initiatives have
now shifted from the acute humanitarian phase to early recovery,
livelihoods activities, including food-for-work and field

DHAKA 00001925 005 OF 006


rehabilitation, should be poised to replace blanket food
distributions in meeting the medium and long-term food needs of
affected populations.

---------------------------
USAID'S TRANSITION STRATEGY
---------------------------

17. Needs assessments conducted by the USAID/DART, U.N., and the GOB
indicate that several response benchmarks (e.g., no reported
unserved areas, water-borne disease prevalence is not significantly
higher than baseline rates, and Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM)
rates do not exceed the emergency threshold) have been met through
international and GOB relief interventions. These indicators
signify that the acute emergency phase has largely ended.
USAID/OFDA awarded $2.4 million immediately following the cyclone to
several organizations to address immediate humanitarian needs. The
end of the acute humanitarian phase also aligns with the December 6
withdrawal of U.S. military humanitarian support to cyclone-affected
areas.

18. U.N. Clusters, GOB, and OFDA/DART assessments have identified
support for early recovery activities as the priority at this phase
in the response. Key sectors include WASH, livelihoods, shelter,
and food security. USAID/OFDA recently awarded $2.1 million to
partners World Vision, Save the Children, and UNICEF to initiate
early recovery interventions. In addition, USAID/FFP contributed
$15 million to partners CARE, Save the Children, and WFP for early
recovery activities. Drawing on information from USAID/DART
assessments, USAID/Bangladesh has submitted a multiyear relief,
rehabilitation, and reconstruction proposal to plan for subsequent
phases of the cyclone response. Spanning approximately two to eight
months after the cyclone, the recovery phase will focus on the
restoration of livelihoods and disaster mitigation activities.

----------
NEXT STEPS
----------

19. On December 11, the USAID/DART will demobilize and USAID/OFDA
personnel will then focus on early recovery support. In recognizing
no lingering humanitarian gaps, the USAID/DART will modify existing
staffing levels to better reflect evolving needs and the situation
on the ground. As the relief phase transitions into early recovery,
USAID/OFDA presence in Bangladesh will necessarily change in
composition and structure since different skill-sets are required to
better address the changing needs of affected populations.
USAID/OFDA's Regional Advisor will lead an QEarly Recovery Team
with support from USAID/OFDA staff with specific recovery skills
that can assist during the medium-term.

------------
APPRECIATION
------------

20. The USAID/DART wishes to express the deepest appreciation for
the exceptional support received from the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka,
USAID/Bangladesh, and the U.S. military. Despite various
humanitarian challenges, the interagency USG response in Bangladesh
was robust, well-coordinated, and has provided life-saving relief to
victims of Cyclone Sidr.

DHAKA 00001925 006 OF 006


PASI

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