ACT Update Bangladesh 1/2004: Tornado devastation in north-eastern Bangladesh

Geneva, 30 April 2004 - Twin tornadoes of devastating force swept across Netrakona and Mymenshingh districts of north-eastern Bangladesh on the evenings of 14 and 18 April. The giant tornado swept away nearly everything in its wake - razing about 7,000 houses and even uprooting hand tube wells.
According to ACT member Church of Bangladesh Social Development Programme (CBSDP) which has its Programme Office in Haluaghat Mymenshing District, one of the devastated areas, on 14 April five villages were affected and the death toll reached 19. There were a further 36 tornado related deaths in Netrokona district. Most of the houses made of clay have been razed to the ground and people are living out in the open. The Government and many NGOs have already assisted with emergency relief and CBSDP sanctioned the use of TK 50,000 (approx US$ 850) to help the tornado victims in Haluaghat area.

CBSDP further reported that 16 villages in Meherpur District were affected by the heavy storms on 18 April. Two people died and 2,000 houses were either totally or partially destroyed. Crops and seasonal fruits were also devastated. Along with other NGOs CBSDP extended support to the value of TK 50,000 to assist the tornado victims.

As the tornado-hit areas were outside the operational areas of ACT member Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS), and as the government and other agencies were working there, RDRS donated the equivalent of US$ 8,600 to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.

ACT member Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB) distributed about US$ 3,500 worth of relief items (including 250 sarees, 200 sets of children's garments, 200 plastic sheets and 400 kgs of BP-5 biscuits) from their emergency stock to 600 affected families in five villages through their partner Basic Development Partners (BDP) operating in the areas.

ACT member Koinonia raised around US$ 27,470 through their own channels and will assist 300 families in Haluaghat Upazilla, Mymensing District with CI sheeting, mosquito nets, sarees, lungis, plates and glasses.

During a Bangladesh ACT Partners Meeting held on 25 April it was decided that there would be no request to the ACT Alliance for support as the Government, international agencies and NGOs had already provided sufficient relief.

Thank you for your attention.

For further information please contact:

ACT Director, Thor-Arne Prois (phone ++41 22 791 6033 or mobile phone ++ 41 79 203 6055) or
ACT Appeals Officer, Mieke Weeda (phone ++ 41 22 791 6035 or mobile phone ++ 41 79 285 2916)

ACT is a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.