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Bangladesh: Cyclone Sidr Situation Report No. 5

Bangladesh: Cyclone Sidr OCHA Situation Report No. 5

This situation report is based on information received from the Bangladesh Disaster Management Information Centre, the UN Resident Coordinator's Office Bangladesh, the Disaster Emergency Response Group (DER), UN Agencies, UN OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) and media sources.

I. Situation in Bangladesh

1. Cyclone Sidr (Category IV) hit Bangladesh on the evening of 15 November. The cyclone struck offshore islands at 1830 hours and made landfall across the southern coast from Cox's Bazaar in the east toward the Satkhira districts in the west at 2030 hours local time, with wind speeds of up to 240 kilometres per hour. The storm caused extensive damage to the southern districts as it moved north across central Bangladesh.

2. More than 4 million people in 28 southern districts are now known to have been directly affected by the cyclonic storms. As of 20 November, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) official reports indicated an increasing death toll of 3,447 people, with a further 2,062 missing and 6,611 injured. The GoB estimates that over 300,511 homes were destroyed and a further 626,088 houses were partially damaged. An estimated 870,000 acres of crops were damaged. Extensive damage to roads and public buildings is also evident, including 792 educational institutions destroyed and another 4,393 partially damaged. The worst affected areas include Bagerhat, Barguna, Barisal, Bhola, Gopalgonj, Jhalkhati, Khulna, Mandaripur, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Satkhira and Shariatpur districts.

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3. A series of assessments are currently underway and more detailed information on the scale of the needs is expected to be made available in the coming days. The Disaster Emergency and Response (DER) group coordinated the pre-positioning of UN agencies and NGOs in affected areas in advance of the cyclone, allowing initial assessment data to be made available in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

4. On the basis of early assessment data, priority needs include food, clean water supply, diarrhoea treatment and shelter assistance. The longer term perspective requires rehabilitation of livelihoods, infrastructure, health and educational services and increased shelter capacity.

II. National Response in Bangladesh

5. To date, the Chief Government Adviser has allocated 100 million taka for relief and house construction in 11 districts. The Deputy Commissioners are procuring and collecting sufficient amount of dry food to respond to the current situation. The Ministry of Food and Disaster Management (MoFDM) has allocated 4,000 metric tonnes of rice, 7,500 tents, 18,000 blankets and 30 million taka as gratuitous relief grants, to date. A special fund was established allocating 350 million taka for housing construction grants. 13,000 bundles of corrugated iron sheets are ready for immediate distribution. 732 medical teams are working in the affected areas. The Bangladesh Armed Forces Division deployed several aircrafts and a number of helicopters. Six Bangladesh Navy ships are conducting rescue, evacuation, relief and reconnaissance operations in the worst storm affected areas. While more roads are opened, the military continues to bring relief items to the affected people by planes, boats and helicopters.

6. The Government of Bangladesh held the Disaster and Emergency Response group (DER) meetings on 15 November and 18 November. The next DER meeting will be held on 22 November.

7. The Government of Bangladesh's early warning and preparedness systems were activated prior to the cyclone making landfall, which greatly reduced the humanitarian impact of this disaster. Preparedness measures included the evacuation of approximately 3.2 million people. Alarms were raised and relief and rescue items were stockpiled.

III. International Response in Bangladesh

8. The United Nations, IFRC, and NGOs, including Save the Children, World Vision International, CARE, Caritas, OXFAM, Islamic Relief, ACT, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Muslim Aid, CONCERN, Plan and ActionAid continue to provide support to the Government of Bangladesh through extensive emergency response mechanisms, including mobilizing in-country staff and pre-positioned relief stocks across southern Bangladesh.

9. Reports from the UN needs assessments of the storm-affected area is expected on 21 November. On 19 November, UN Heads of Agencies visited the worst affected districts to assess the situation. They met assessment and relief teams and confirmed that relief is reaching the farthest corners of the affected area. They also noted that material damage was severe and varied between regions, nevertheless there were indications of small-scale economic recovery.

10. The United Nations is distributing 208 tonnes of high-energy biscuits to assist an estimated 850,000 cyclone affected people. 240,000 packets of water purifying powder are reaching 48,000 families. Shelter materials (thick polyesters) will also be distributed to 18,000 households whose houses were destroyed by the storms. Partners are currently distributing dry food (flattened rice and molasses) to 70,000 affected families. Medical officers have been made available to assist Government response, including 4 for coordinating central response. USD 50,000 was made available for water and supplies and transportation. More relief will be made available following initial determination of needs.

11. The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator released an initial allocation of USD 8.75 million from the Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) for projects in Agriculture, Child Protection, Food, Nutrition and Water and Sanitation on 21 November. A second round of allocations is in-process for activities in Heath and Shelter.

12. On 16 November, IFRC launched a preliminary emergency appeal for USD 3.5 million to support the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society to assist 235,000 beneficiaries for a period of 9 months.

13. The following countries have pledged assistance to the relief effort so far: Australia (USD 2.7 million); Czech Republic (USD 81,000); Estonia (USD 46,000); France (USD 730,000); Germany (USD 1 million); India (USD 1 million); Ireland (USD 720,461); Spain (USD 1 million); United Kingdom (USD 5.2 million); United States of America (USD 5 million). The USA also contributed USD 100,000 in initial emergency assistance.

14. The European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) has pledged USD 9.2 million to the Cyclone Sidr emergency response.

15. Caritas Spain contributed USD 288,184 for emergency aid to the affected disaster population.

16. For updated information on financial contributions, please refer to the OCHA Financial Tracking System website: http://ocha.unog.ch/fts2/

Donors are encouraged to verify this table and inform FTS of corrections/additions/values to this table.

17. This situation report, together with further information regarding on-going emergencies, is also available on the Reliefweb: http://www.reliefweb.int


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