June 2, 2009

Bangladesh India Devastated by Tropical Cyclone! More Than 3.2 Million Were Affected Leaving 167 Dead And Over 7,000 Injured.

Photo: ReliefWeb

IRIN Asia News
Tuesday June 02, 2009

DHAKA, 2 June 2009 (IRIN) - One week after Cyclone Aila struck southern Bangladesh, survivors in some areas are facing acute shortages of drinking water after many water sources were contaminated.

“The dire situation has yet to improve,” Mohammad Badi Akhter, Oxfam’s acting chief of operations in Dhaka, told IRIN, noting the government was calling on NGOs to beef up their operations, particularly for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Despite relief efforts by the government, NGOs, the UN and international agencies, thousands of people on islands had yet to receive any kind of relief assistance. Even on the mainland, scores of people were still trapped in their homes, surrounded by stagnant floodwater.

“I don’t see any possibility of the waters receding before the end of the monsoon,” said a water engineer from the Sharankhola area of Bagerhat District. This translates into the end of September: the consequences of the storm may turn out worse than expected.

“There are seven mouths to feed in my family,” Jahangir Alam of Kolapara sub-district in Patuakhali District said. He had not yet received any aid.

Lack of drinking water was forcing many to go hungry as they were unable to cook the food they had received from relief agencies.

Organized by the Directorate General of Health Services and the World Health Organization, close to 700 teams of healthcare professionals were now providing medical support to survivors.

More than 3.2 million were affected when Alia swept across large parts of low-lying Bangladesh on 25 May, leaving 167 dead and over 7,000 injured.

Fourteen of the country’s 64 districts were affected, the Disaster Management Bureau reported, prompting some 145,000 people to flee to cyclone shelters, according to the government’s 1 June situation report. According to government estimates immediately after the cyclone, some 600,000 people were estimated to have fled their homes - some to higher ground, some to stay with relatives and some to cyclone shelters.

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