Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What Disaster? Category 10 Cyclone Sidr Bangladesh- NE India

For several days, I've been watching the approach of Cyclone Sidr in Bay of Bengal, which has grown to a Category 10 Cyclone (or Hurricane 4+ or bigger than Katrina--and we all saw the disaster and still unresolved mess in New Orleans & the coast of the USA). It's supposed to make landfall in the next 12 hours or so in the densely populated coastal areas of NE India near Kolkata and Bangladesh before veering still as a Category 10/ Hurricane 4 into the mid section of Bangladesh. Instead of weakening as it approached the coast, the storm intensity has increased and generating some extraordinary images.

Despite the enormous toil that Cyclone Sidr may take, other bloggers and I have seen little or no coverage in US media on this impending disaster and catastrophe that may be bigger than previous record storms in especially Bhola 1970 where 500,000 people died and another in 1991, where nearly 140,000 people lost their lives.

Over the last few days, India and Bangladesh have ordered evacuations of coastal areas where millions live in low areas barely a foot or more above sea level (and predicted storm surges of 9-12 feet). At least 10 million Bangladeshi need to evacuate, but Bangladesh has cyclone shelters for only about .5 million people.

Evacuations will not be so easy with roads clogged with poor people trying to leave with their only possessions, animals, and children. Much of the transportation in this area is by boats and launches, which have been stopped by the increasingly high winds and waves ahead of this cyclone.

Much of the evacuation burdens will be borne by women who must keep their children and animals safe & fed as well as themselves in the chaos. They will find their own mobility-safety restricted by these tasks and their own clothing-modesty ahead of storm surges, tidal waves, and floods. Many of the deaths in recent Bangladeshi floods and cyclones have been from women and children who have drowned and of the survivors through disease, little or no drinkable water, and little food or relief.

High winds, rain, and cyclone weather will affect the western and middle parts of Bangladesh until Cyclone Sidr becomes a tropical storm in about three or four more days. This will probably bring more floods to central and southern Bangladesh, which have only begun to recover from the summer 2007 floods as well as high inflation in the prices of essential goods. In urban areas such as Dhaka where just a moderate rain results in much flooding of streets, slums, and living areas owing to poor drainage & waterlogging, even more people will suffer from Cyclone Sidr and its heavy rains, winds, storms, and damage.

This impending landfall affects millions in India and Bangladesh whose lives, homes, and crops will be disrupted, displaced and possibly lost, but also generations of their near and dear ones who have migrated to Europe, USA, and other parts of the world for school, work, and family and who now watch, worry, and wait for news.

Please inform yourself about the eventual path and story of Cyclone Sidr, keep the people in its path in your hearts-prayers, and give so that they can recover from yet another disaster in the stormy Bay of Bengal.

6 comments:

M Nurul-Alam said...

Nice presentation. Time to talk about the nature of disaster management in Bangladesh.

Thanks you Kathy

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rakib said...

I Think You Guyz Know Bwt Devastating Cyclone Sidr..It Destroyed Many Costal Area Of Bangladesh..Many People Died..
Dealth Toll May Be 10,000 in Bangladesh Cyclone Sidr



People Need Food..People Need Help..
Help Them To Survive
www.Helpthemsurvive.org

kbw said...

rakib:

thanks for your comments on the post, which was written right as Sidr was making landfall and very few people in Bangladesh had much knowledge of its severity b/c limited coverage in Bangladeshi media. for example, the Nari Jibon staff in Dhaka did not know much until I sent satellite images and international coverage to them and told them to go home. the marine warning flags went from 4 to 10 in just a matter of hours.

i have covered the many problems and much higher death toll, which you can see on later posts in this blog and in http://narijibon.blogspot.com/

yes, we know about the much higher toll--some others are now predicting 15,000 not counting the people who will perish in post Sidr from illness, exposure, lack of food and good water...

hope that people will continue to donate to your site and/or other sites. kbw

:::Ghost::: said...

ive heard on the news that the strength was a size 5 not a 10 i dont know who is right and this is for my georgphy homework so which one is it???

kbw said...

ghost:

thanks for your question.actually both/and. the differences in numbers is due to two different rating systems for asia-pacific cylones (hurricanes)--1 to 10 (with ten bing most severe) and the usa/americas hurricanes 1-5 (with 5 the most severe).

so in the cyclone system--Sidr was a cat 10; for hurricane system, Sidr was a cat 5.

BBC and other sources have had some good articles on this...so spend some more time and look this up! if you could find my blog, you can find this information...good luck! kbw