Bangladesh: Cyclone Aila Emergency Appeal No. MDRBD004


GLIDE TC-2007-000208-BGD

This Emergency Appeal seeks CHF 2,355,249 (USD 2.2 million or EUR 1.6 million) in cash, kind, or services to support the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society to assist 36,800 families (or 184,000 beneficiaries) for nine months.

CHF 253,000 (USD 230,677 or EUR 170,500) was allocated from the International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society/International Federation to respond to the first emergency needs. Unearmarked funds to replenish DREF are encouraged.

Cyclone Aila hit the south-western coast of Bangladesh on 25 May, leaving over 190 people dead and causing widespread devastation. Initially, the impact of the disaster was not so severe. However, as time has gone by, the situation in the affected areas has worsened. Much land has remained severely water-logged and more and more houses, often made of mud, have collapsed. It is now estimated that four million people are affected, over 240,000 homes have been completely destroyed and over 370,000 homes partly destroyed.

This Emergency Appeal responds to a request from the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society to enable the national society to provide relief and early recovery assistance to those most affected by the disaster. Emergency shelter, primary health, water and sanitation and livelihood programmes will be provided in the eight most affected districts of Barisal, Bhola, Pirojpur, Sathkira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Barguna and Patuakhali. (refer to Annex 2 for map)

This operation is expected to be implemented over nine months from 1 June 2009, and will therefore be completed by 31 March 2010. A final report will be made available by 30 June 2010 (three months after the end of the operation).

The situation

The storm that ripped through the south-western coast of Bangladesh on the afternoon of 25 May has left, according to various sources, including the ministry of food and disaster management, 190 dead. Additionally, thousands of people are still marooned in the coastal areas, battling to survive the aftermath with little food and drinking water. The maritime ports of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Mongla were advised to lower signal. The information below, compiled by the Disaster Management Information Centre (DMIC) of the Bangladesh ministry of food and disaster management shows the extent of the devastation caused by Cyclone Aila as of 11 June 2009:

Table 1:

Affected districts 11
Affected upazillas (Sub-districts) 64
Affected unions 195 (fully), 334 (partial)
Affected households (families) 948,621
Affected population 3,928,238
Reported deaths 190
People injured 7,103
Houses damaged (Fully) 243,191
Houses damaged (Partially) 370,587
Crops damaged (Fully) 77,486 acres
Crops damaged (Partially) 245,968 acres
Livestock deaths 150,131
Roads damaged (Fully) 2,233 km
Roads damaged (Partially) 6,621 km
Educational institutions (Fully) 445
Educational institutions (Partially) 4,588
Embankments damaged 1742.53 km
Damaged Bridges/Culverts 157

The impact of Cyclone Aila has been tremendous. Heavy rain coupled with gales flattened huge tracts of standing crops and washed away numerous fisheries. They also caused extensive damage to embankments in the coastal districts. Thousands of people have been injured and many livestock killed, according to the ministry of food and disaster management. The affected areas were without electricity for over 24 hours. The national newspapers have reported that those in cyclone shelters are facing difficulties due to scarcity of food, drinking water and medicines. Meanwhile, fears of an outbreak of diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases are growing.

According to various sources, a total of 686 medical teams (doctors and health assistants) are working in the eight affected districts to provide emergency medical care, mostly first aid. Additionally, the director general of health services (DGHS) control room at the central and coastal districts is operational on an around-the-clock basis. All civil surgeons of the coastal districts are directed to initiate treatment to the affected population. The civil surgeons have assured that they have sufficient logistics to combat any immediate emergencies if needed. The DGHS officials have advised all the rapid response teams (RRT) at the district levels to be fully alert and report of any situation that may arise from the consequences of the cyclone. With the technical support from the World Health Organization (WHO), the DGHS will undertake rapid needs assessments (RNA) to assess the loss and needs of the health sector followed by Cyclone Aila.

The Government of Bangladesh and many international humanitarian organizations, including the UN and Red Cross Red Crescent, have been quick to respond to the disaster. The Government of Bangladesh deployed the army, navy and the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR border guards) to assist the administration and non-government organizations in the rescue and relief operation. The ministry of food and disaster management, through a governmental and non-governmental organization (GO-NGO) coordination meeting held on 11 June, requested the national and international humanitarian community for their support in relief and early recovery activities.

Based on the assessment, the ministry has set six priorities for relief and early recovery activities. These activities are shelter/housing, livelihoods, water treatment, agricultural rehabilitation, repairing of embankments, and construction of cyclone shelters. The Government of Bangladesh has given a total of BDT 1,381,000 (CHF 21,374) in cash, 27,951 MT rice, and BDT 200,292,000 (CHF 3,099,429) as house building grants to the affected districts. Moreover, the Government of Bangladesh was able to reach a large area and is providing food for two months following the initial support and food for work. The Government of Bangladesh in Satkhira has provided 5,000 BDT (CHF 80) per family to support rebuilding of homes.

Several humanitarian agencies, including some international non-governmental organizations have been continuing assistance with non-food items (water jerry cans, plastic sheeting, water treatment plants, and so on), food item packages (dry food, rice, potatoes, vegetable oil, salt, BP-5 biscuits, etc.), safe drinking water supplies, water purification tablets (WPT) and oral rehydration solutions to the affected people. Some local and national non-governmental organizations, including Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), have also been very active. They have been distributing relief items among families in most affected districts. Some non-governmental organizations have even started early recovery activities, i.e. cash for work.

However, the urgent need to get immediate assistance to the affected people remains and further assistance is needed in the longer-term to help the affected communities to rebuild and restore their lives and livelihoods. Hence, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS), with the help and coordination of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, will help in responding to immediate needs of the affected population in emergency shelter, water and sanitation facilities and livelihoods support.