Some 20,000 people took refuge in World Vision-built cyclone shelters.
Updated November 20, 2007
By James East, World Vision Asia Pacific Communications
Please note: If a sponsored child is directly affected by a crisis or disaster, it is World Vision's policy to notify that child's sponsor as soon as possible.
Residents look on as it rains in Barisal, 75 miles south of Bangladesh's capital of Dhaka, on Thursday, November 15. More than 600,000 coastal villagers took shelter inland Thursday as Cyclone Sidr approached Bangladesh's southwestern shores. (AP Photo/Pavel Rahman)
In the face of a monster cyclone that made landfall Nov. 15 in Bangladesh, more than 600,000 were evacuated. Our staff worked with volunteers to house 20,000 of the displaced in World Vision-built cyclone shelters.
An estimated 7 million people fled the path of Cyclone Sidr, which washed over low-lying areas with winds of up to 155-mph and a five-foot tidal surge.
World Vision's Response
Our staff members in Bangladesh are embarking on an aid response — initially valued at $640,000 — for 20,000 families living in three World Vision project areas in the hard-hit Mongla region of southern Bangladesh.
At least 3,000 people killed; death toll expected to rise, as many are still missing
More than 300,000 houses destroyed and more than 600,000 damaged
Some 250,000 livestock killed, and more than 600,000 metric tons of rice completely lost
More than 790 educational facilities completely destroyed; nearly 4,400 damaged
Hundreds of thousands of survivors are reportedly now without access to safe drinking water
World Vision staff distributed food to 2,800 families in dire need; we are now delivering seven-day emergency relief packs to 20,000 people in seven hard-hit World Vision program areas in southern Bangladesh
World Vision will dispatch tin sheeting to more than 9,300 severely affected families — an estimated 50,000 people — who lost their homes in our program areas
"Our teams on the ground have found that most poor families who have lost their homes are now living out in the open," says Vince Edwards, World Vision's national director in Bangladesh, who currently is in the disaster zone. "We urgently need to get bundles of tin sheeting to these families."
World Vision video (53 seconds) shows vignettes of the aftermath of massive destruction caused by Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh.
In India, World Vision staff in the Kolkatta area were also ready to respond, with additional staff and relief team specialists on standby to assist if needed.
Millions of People in the Storm's Path
The cyclone, which for a time was classified as a Category 5, ground up the Bay of Bengal toward the low-lying coastal areas of Bangladesh — one of the most densely populated nations on earth.
Most of Bangladesh is made up of deltas and alluvial land and is only a few feet above sea level, making it especially vulnerable to storm surges. Wind speeds of 149 mph, gusting to 183 mph, were registered before the cyclone hit land.
Sidr also slammed India's state of Western Bengal, including Kolkata, with high winds and rains; western Myanmar also was affected.
Standing by for Action in Bangladesh and India
The triangular shape of the Bay of Bengal serves to funnel storm surge waters into Bangladesh, with the surge worsened by the shallow water. Of the 13 deadliest cyclones recorded, nine occurred in this bay. The biggest — and the only Category 5 cyclone to hit Bangladesh so far — was in 1991. A 30-foot storm surge near the coast of Chittagong killed 143,000 people. But the biggest death toll to hit Bangladesh as a result of such a storm occurred in 1970, when more than 500,000 people died.
The government of Bangladesh declared the cyclone a 10 — the highest on their hazard scale — for the Mongla area. Bangladesh has a population of 142 million; of these, nearly 10 million live along the southern coast.
In India, World Vision's national rapid response team remained on standby, watching closely the path of the cyclone that was expected to cross the coast some 124 miles southeast of Kolkata, a city of 14 million people.
>> Pray for millions of people in low-lying areas of Bangladesh and India as they flee the path of this killer storm. Pray for the ability of World Vision staff to assess needs and bring help quickly and effectively.
>> Donate now to help survivors of Cyclone Sidr.
>> Sponsor a child in Bangladesh.
Pray for millions of people in low-lying areas of Bangladesh and India as they flee the path of this killer storm. Pray for the ability of World Vision staff to assess needs and bring help quickly and effectively.