OCHA Situation Report No. 4
Bangladesh - Cold Wave
First Situation Report issued on 09 January 2003
The following information was provided by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), WFP in Bangladesh, the OCHA Field Officer in Delhi, and the media.
SITUATION AND RESPONSE
1. The cold spell that has affected South Asia for the past two months is now officially over according to the Bangladeshi Meteorological Department. Temperatures have returned to levels usual for the season.
2. The severe weather conditions claimed more than 1,500 lives in the region. The overwhelming majority of the victims were vulnerable and poor people such as children, the elderly, street dwellers and day labourers lacking adequate protection from the cold.
3. More than 700 people reportedly died in Bangladesh as a result of low temperatures. Most casualties were reported in the north-western district of Rajshahi and the south-eastern district of Barisal.
4. According to the Bangladeshi Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), the cold weather caused minor damage to crops in 12 districts, with an average of 2.2 percent of seedlings affected. Due to increased planting, especially of rice paddy, no shortages in agricultural output are expected.
5. The Bangladesh Red Cross reports that it will be conducting relief operations shortly. Additional donations of blankets and other relief items received will be stocked up for future use.
INDIA AND NEPAL
6. India was the worst affected by the cold spell, especially the north-eastern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where more than 900 deaths were reported. The cold weather was also felt in Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Delhi.
7. The Lutheran World Service (LWS) and Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) in India have provided blankets to needy populations in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Kolkata. In addition to blankets and warm clothing, the Indian Red Cross has distributed tents for shelter and medicines through its State branches.
8. In Nepal, the cold weather claimed around 60 lives. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has provided blankets to 6,000 families recently liberated from bonded labour and sheltered in eight camps in Kailali District. Action by Churches Together (ACT) has transferred USD 39,900 from its Rapid Response Fund (RRF) to LWF in Nepal for this purpose.
9. This is the last situation report that will be released on this disaster, unless there are unforeseen developments.
10. This situation report, together with information on other ongoing emergencies, is available on the OCHA Website at http://www.reliefweb.int
Telephone:+41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
In case of emergency only: Tel: +41-22-917 20 10
Ms. Marie Spaak/ Ms. Héloïse Ruaudel/ Ms Canan G=FCnd=FCz
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 17 28 / 17 69/ 14 84
(GVA) - Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) - Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-212-963 87 40
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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