Alert Bangladesh Cyclone

Report
from Action by Churches Together International
Published on 19 May 1997
Geneva, May 19, 1997
A severe cyclone hit the coast of Bangladesh Monday. Winds of up to 180 - 200 kph hit areas around Cox Bazar and Teknaf areas. In response to the cyclone and a feared storm surge of up to 6 meters above astronomical tide, up to half a million people have been evacuated from low lying areas along the coast and on near by islands.

ACT partner, Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB), reported Monday morning (CET) that about 40.000 people had sought refugee at their cyclone shelters at Cox Bazar and that their Disaster Preparedness Unit is in close contact with government organizations, NGOs, its Cox Bazar office and a local network in the affected areas. CCDB will provide further information as it becomes available and will share it with the ACT Network. Depending on the forth coming information ACT may issue an appeal tomorrow, Tuesday.

At the time of writing CCDB had no accounts of human loss or material damage. Later Monday news agencies reported that so far it was confirmed that five people had been killed and 30 injured as powerful winds hit the town of Chittagong. Reuters News Agency quoted Bangladeshi officials saying that "vast areas have been affected with electricity supply and telecommunications disrupted. Many houses have been destroyed and we can see sheets of tin from roof tops flying like tree leaves". Burmese refugee camps south of Cox Bazar are known to have been hit but the majority of the refugees had been evacuated in time.

Storm surges in the wake of the cyclone may be worsened by the fact that it is near full moon (May 21) and tides thus are high.

For further information, please contact the ACT Co-ordinating Office.

Ecumenical Centre / 150, route de Ferney / P.O. Box 2100 / 1211 Geneva 2 / Switzerland. Phone: ++41-22-791.60.33 / Fax: ++41-22-791.65.06 /

E-mail: act@wcc-coe.org / Telex: 415 730 OIK CH