The Needs Assessment Working Group is mandated to inform the humanitarian community about the Cyclone “Fani” causing humanitarian impact and assess the needs of distressed people of Bangladesh. This report has attempted to capture an overview on of the scope of the damage, disruption and distress caused by “Fani,” as well as to highlight any possible future risks. The report will be used to strengthen further disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures under the leadership of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.
Cyclone “Fani” was generated as a deep depression and then intensified into extremely severe cyclonic storm at southwest and adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal (BoB) at end of May, 2019. It made landfall on 3 May along the Odisha coast and then crossed Bangladesh through the mid-western part on 4th May in a dissipated form without causing major damage.
Government of Bangladesh (GoB) constantly monitored the path of cyclone “Fani”, hoisted DANGER SIGNAL NUMBER SEVEN for all coastal districts. Anticipation was that under the influence of “Fani” and new moon phase, the coastal districts and their offshore islands and chars would experience wind speed up to 90-110 kmph in gusts/ squalls, heavy rainfall and 1-2 feet tidal surge water during the passage of the storm. (BMD Bulletin). Over time it got weakened, but because of the tri-impact (high wind, rainfall and tidal surge) it induced loss and damages in Satkhira, Jashore and Khulna regions and 28 districts.
Along with continuous risk monitoring and communication by (BMD), Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC) and other authorities interrelated to disaster management, GoB authorities in Bangladesh have undertaken comprehensive preparations to minimize life-threatening situations and the loss of livelihoods. The non-governmental humanitarian communities were also on their mark with all preparedness, response capacity and early recovery interventions. Inter-ministerial coordination meetings, DDMC and UzDMC meetings, Humanitarian Coordination Task Team meetings, Needs Assessment Working Group preparatory meeting are some of the coordination efforts that contributed to proper disaster management.
The damage was minimalized, yet there are 14 lives lost due to various cyclone induced causes. The Ministry of Agriculture informed that “Fani” damaged crops over some 155,832 acres of land, which is an accumulated loss of Tk 385,402,500, affecting around 13,631 farmers in 35 different districts. Some of the River embankments in coastal districts like Satkhira, Bhola, Barguna and Patuakhali partially collapsed due to high tide that caused inundation of the agricultural land and homestead.
Measures were taken to address the emerged needs and reduce the cyclonic aftermath. The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief pre-positioned 3,800 metric tons of rice, 19.7 million Bangladeshi Taka in cash and, 41,000 dry food packages. Dept. of Disaster Management has opened an EOC which ensured the compilation and coordination of collected SOS and D-forms. DPHE has opened a control room to monitor and coordinate all WASH activities for cyclone “Fani”. The extensive early evacuation efforts of 1.6 million in Bangladesh prevented a higher number of fatalities. BDRCS Units and CPP have participated DDMC meeting in all coastal districts and also the non-coastal districts. Meanwhile, they also continued participating coordination meeting at MoDMR and Inter-Ministerial Meeting and media briefing.
All humanitarian clusters, working group and agencies complemented government efforts, clusters liaised with their national Government partners for information-sharing on preparedness measures and possible complementary support if/when needed. They also liaised with their international/national/local partners for ensuring the pre-positioning of relief items, the sharing of standard assistance packages agreed with the Government, and for the activation of their district focal.
After closely analyzing the cyclone “Fani” and the measures taken for it, NAWG has come up with some concrete recommendation and improvement areas. Centralized, update and accessible crisis information management, advocacy to increase safety net and quick restoration of affected people’s livelihood are some of them. The natural resilience in people lessened the potential impacts of the cyclone “Fani”. Moreover, the effective disaster preparedness, early actions undertaken by national authorities and partners resulted in a limited loss of lives and reduced livelihood and infrastructures damages.