Red Crescent fears death toll in cyclone-hit Bangladesh may cross 10,000

November 19th, 2007 - 12:19 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, Nov 19 (ANI): The death toll in the cyclone-hit country may cross 10,000, according to the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.
“We have already identified 2,750 bodies. Based on our experience in the past and reports from the scene, I would suggest the death toll may be as high as 10,000,” said Prof M Abdur Rob, Chairman of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.
On Sunday, the death toll in the cyclone-hit country touched the 2,000-mark.
Reacting over this, Mohammad Aiyub Miah, Acting Secretary to the Food and Disaster Management Ministry said, “It is hard to guess what could be the possible number of causalities. But, we can assure that we will instantly update all on the death toll, whatever grave it turned out to be.”
“We have been taken aback with the catastrophe in some remote, inaccessible areas. It will take time for us to get an idea of the actual loss there,” Miah told The Daily Star.
Commenting over the Red Crescent fear, several non-government organisations also urged the international community to support disaster-hit Bangladeshis.
“These people are very poor and have lost everything. Their need will be very high, and we don’t believe the Bangladesh government can help all of them,” said a top man in international relief agency.
However, the government’s disaster preparedness was acknowledged by the international community.
Juliet Parker of Christian Aid cautioned, “These preparedness saved lives but not livelihoods.”
It is believed that the government hoped to present a detailed report on causalities and financial loss at the meeting with donors, next week.
As the death toll figure is increasing day-by-day, thousands of survivors are still waiting for relief aid.
In Barguna, people are leading miserable life. They are crying for drinking water as they used to rely on tubewells and ponds, which went out of order.
As far as relief aid is concerned, there were reports of lack of relief from different parts of the districts.
However, Bangladesh military along with help of domestic and foreign navy assistance have stepped into the relief and rescue operations.
Several international organisations and donors have also extended help to the devastated country.
The German government offered 731, 345 dollars, while the European Union released 2.2 million dollars in relief aid. The Rome-based World Food Program was rushing in food, and the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society was sending thousands of workers to stricken areas.
Washington has sent two US Navy amphibious assault help authorities in relief and rescue operations.
According to rescuers and volunteers, it would take weeks to assess the actual death toll, financial loss, and days to reach relief to people who have been forced to live under the open skies.
Over 40,000 policemen, soldiers, coast guards and health workers have been deployed along the coast for rescue operations.
With a wind speed of up to 240 kph, the cyclone roared in from the Bay of Bengal just before dusk on Thursday, killing over a thousand and damaging homes and crops.
Southern Bangladesh is often hit by cyclones, but experts say the latest is a category four storm, the most powerful so far in the season.
Close to five lakh people died in 1970 when a cyclone hit the country. A similar storm claimed 143,000 lives in 1991. (ANI)

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