ASIA/BANGLADESH - Cyclone Remal: human cost is very high

Friday, 31 May 2024 natural disasters   caritas   displaced persons   solidarity  

Caritas Bangladesh

Dhaka (Agenzia Fides) - "The human cost is very high, there are obstacles to transport and delays in medical care. More than 700 pregnant women in Patuakhali district are struggling to reach the main health services for expectant mothers. Cyclone Remal has left a trail of devastation in Bangladesh," says Albino Nath, regional director of Caritas Khulna, as the country tries to recover from the tragic consequences of Cyclone Remal. The cyclone is considered the most devastating to hit Bangladesh in recent years. According to government estimates, the storm that hit the region near the Bangladesh-India border in the west of the country on May 26 affected 3.75 million people in 19 districts, damaged around 150,000 homes, killed at least 10 people and left 800,000 homeless. The damage is still being assessed and the government and non-governmental organizations are busy restoring essential services and providing humanitarian aid to the victims.
The districts of Pirojpur, Khulna, Bagerhat, Satkhira, Patuakhali, Barguna, Bhola and Barisal are the worst affected. Widespread flooding has caused damage to houses, crops and fish farms. According to the Department of Fisheries and Livestock, 50,000 fish farming facilities, 34,000 tanks and 4,000 shrimp farms were submerged during the cyclone. Around 17 million people were left without power and about 20,000 mobile towers are out of service across the country, while 16,500 water distribution points or wells have also been rendered inoperable. Minister of Disaster Management and Relief Mohibbur Rahman announced the establishment of around 8,000 temporary shelters for the displaced and mobilized nearly 80,000 volunteers to help the affected population.
"Families," reports the head of Caritas Khulna, "are mourning the loss of their loved ones as they struggle to find shelter and basic necessities. The destruction of homes and infrastructure has left many homeless and without any means of communicating with the outside world. Our farmers and fishermen, who are the backbone of our local economy, have lost their livelihoods and are desperate," he said. While relief efforts continue, the main focus is on providing immediate assistance to the displaced. "We are working tirelessly to restore basic services, with great solidarity from everyone, but the road will be long and difficult," he reports.
The impact of Cyclone Remal highlights how vulnerable Bangladesh's coastal communities are and the importance of preventing and preparing for natural disasters. "Our thoughts are with those affected and we hope for a speedy recovery for the people of the region. The Catholic community will do everything in its power to offer solidarity, compassion and comfort to those who are suffering," explains the Caritas representative, reiterating the commitment of the Catholic organization to distribute humanitarian aid in the shelters provided by the government.
Caritas Bangladesh notes: "The continuing impact of the climate crisis means that cyclones become more frequent and more intense. One disaster after another, with little time for adequate recovery and preparation. This puts a strain on local communities who face the ongoing effects of the climate crisis and poverty. Devastating floods are then accompanied by seasons of brutal drought that put the lives of millions of people in difficulty. Bangladesh faces ongoing challenges related to floods and cyclones. It is estimated that approximately 17% of Bangladesh's population will be displaced in the coming years if the effects of climate change continue at the current rate". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 31/5/2024)