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Shifting Through the Aftermath of Cyclone Sidr
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Jennifer Lubrani
 
November 27, 2007

The aftermath of any storm often creates difficulties not only for those affected by the catastrophe but also for the aid workers and agencies who are trying to reach those impacted by the disaster.

Volunteers load relief supplies on a boat to reach those most impacted by the Cyclone as roads are almost impassable. (Photo credit: Philippe Stoll/ICRC)
Volunteers load relief supplies on a boat to reach those most impacted by the Cyclone as roads are almost impassable.
(Photo credit: Philippe Stoll/ICRC)

Ten days after Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh, large-scale relief operations continue to assist millions affected by the devastating storm. With winds of up to 155 mph, Cyclone Sidr slammed into the southern coast of Bangladesh last week creating a 16-foot tidal surge. Latest assessments of the damage caused by Cyclone Sidr include: more than 3,200 fatalities and 35,000 injured with 880 people still missing.

Aid workers are having difficulties reaching some areas affected by the storm due to impassable roads, as well as communication and utility services outages.

Bangladesh Red Crescent assessment and relief teams, with members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society (International Federation), were deployed hours after the cyclone struck to conduct damage assessments and deliver aid, but have had difficulty reaching some of the most affected areas .

“Even with such a large force of people in the field, we have not been able to get sufficient information to complete the assessment,” affirms Matuir Rahman, deputy director in-charge, Relief Department, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS).

A Call to Increase Aid to the Area

Slowly, as damage assessments are made, reports such as drinking water being contaminated raise concerns of diarrhea and other water-related disease outbreaks. As a response to this and other damage reports, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies increased its initial appeal to $22.2 million — an increase 5 times greater than their initial appeal. The appeal aims to provide assistance of food and non-food items, water and sanitation activities, basic healthcare, shelter, livelihoods support and capacity building efforts to severely affected districts in Bangladesh.

The American Red Cross immediately released $200,000 as its initial response to the storm.  Soon after,  5,000 tarps and 25,000 blankets were quickly mobilized to Bangladesh from the American Red Cross prepositioned stock in Kuala Lumpur . The American Red Cross also contributed $1 million to the International Federation through funding and staff support made possible by a grant from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. 

Meanwhile, as damage assessments continue to come in, the American Red Cross is evaluating other response options, including additional funds, relief supplies and deployment of disaster response delegates.

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You can help those affected by countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. Please call 1-800-RED CROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation.


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