Bangladesh: over half million of SIDR victims struggling for shelter


Dhaka : After two years Cyclone Sidr in southern part of the country on November 15, 2007 killing more than 3,000 people and leaving millions homeless, over half million survivors are still struggling for shelter and living at high risk of affecting by disease than before, sources said.

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According to the official report, approximately 8.5 million peoples were affected and about 3,032 were killed and 1.6 million household damaged. Around 1.2 million livestock were killed and standing crops of 2.4 million acres of land were damaged. The overall economic loss was estimated at 1.7 billion US dollar.

A high official of the Disaster Management Bureau said the relief and rehabilitation programmes in cyclone-hit areas are being conducted at private and government levels, where social monitoring is a must to ensure proper implementation of the programmes.

He also said the international donor community should provide the government and supporting actors with new funds to help disaster- affected people rebuild hazard-resilient houses, restore livelihood and strengthen essential services infrastructure.

“People who have land deeds were given houses and those who don’t have such documents did not get the benefit. They had to make shelter with plastic sheets which they received after the disaster,” Mizanur Rahman of Bagerhat district said. “The sheets are now torn; people are living with ripped pieces of sheets and broken tin.”

“Communities are still in need of urgent help – both to recover from the impact of Sidr and to be able to prepare for future possible cyclones and floods,” said Bangladesh-Oxfam country director, Heather Blackwell.

“Oxfam is calling for greater political and financial efforts to resolve the shelter crisis. This will require continued substantial support from the international community in the form of increased aid and greater political commitment by all parties involved in relief and rehabilitation efforts, led by the Bangladesh government,” said Blackwell.

Low-lying Bangladesh – one of the world’s most densely populated countries – suffers from many climate-related problems every year, including floods, cyclones and tornadoes. Their frequency and ferocity is increasing, making some of Bangladesh’s poorest rural communities even more vulnerable and reducing their ability to grow crops, have not access to clean water and housing.

The United Nations’ Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted that Bangladesh could lose nearly one-fifth of its land by 2050 because of rising sea levels due to global warming.