• The cyclonic storm Fani has dissipated after crossing Bangladesh with much less damages and impact than initially anticipated.
• At the same time, 14 people were killed and 45 sustained injuries due to lightning, falling trees and house collapses.
• Of an estimated 1,666,000 people who were evacuated to cyclone shelters across affected areas of western and southern Bangladesh, most have returned home by 5 May.
• Government authorities are responding across affected divisions, mobilizing medical teams and supplies, protecting water sources and disseminating lifesaving information.
• UNICEF maintained its readiness to provide pre-positioned emergency lifesaving supplies to meet the needs of up to 100,000 people in western areas of the country and Cox’s Bazar and contingency agreements with partners remained ready to be activated to provide emergency WASH, nutrition, health, child protection and education services.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
1.6 million People evacuated to cyclone shelters (Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, 5 May)
640,000 Children evacuated to cyclone shelters (UNICEF estimate)
14 killed and 45 injured due to lightning, falling trees and house collapses (Health Emergency Operations Centre and Control Room of the Directorate General of Health Services)
After crossing Bangladesh on Saturday without causing major damage, the cyclonic storm “Fani” has dissipated. According to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department’s weather situation update issued on 5 May, squalls were now unlikely over the North Bay and adjoining coastal areas. Maritime ports in Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Mongla and Payra have been advised to lower the level of their warning signal. The damages and impact were not as severe as anticipated since the actual wind speed were lower (60-80 Kph) than anticipation.
At one point of time the peripheral effect of the very severe cyclonic storm “FANI” had covered the whole land area of Bangladesh. While it entered Bangladesh being weakened, it was still one of the largest, widest and longest (nearly 12 hours)
Cyclones that Bangladesh has had in the last 52 years.
The significant preparedness and immediate response measures taken by the government authorities minimized the loss of life and damage to property and infrastructure. People who took refugee in cyclone shelters returned home on the afternoon of 4 May. The authorities reported that 1.6 million people from coastal regions were evacuated to cyclone shelters where dry food, medicine and drinking water were provided. The strong winds and tidal surges breached 32 kilometers of river embankments, creating localized inundations.
Initial estimates from the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief indicate that approximatively 53,000 acres of agricultural land and 13,000 houses were damaged across the country. The preliminary estimates undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture indicated that up to 36,414 hectares (89,981 acres) of crops were affected in 21 districts. According to the Ministry of Food, the current national stocks of rice and wheat are sufficient to prevent any shortage of food.
The initial assessment performed by the Department of Public Health Engineering’s Emergency Operations Centre reported that some 3,300 tube-wells and 30 latrines were damaged in Patuakhali, Borguna and Bhola districts.
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief distributed 3,800 metric tons of rice, 19.7 million Bangladeshi Taka in cash and 41,000 dry food packages. In addition to the emergency allocations to the affected districts, it is providing cash assistance to the families of those who lost their lives to the cyclone.
According to the Health Emergency Operations Centre and Control Room of the Directorate General of Health Services, 14 people lost their lives and 45 people sustained injuries due to lightning, falling trees and house collapses. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is still closely monitoring the overall situation at the local level in order to prevent possible disease outbreaks in case of disrupted water and sanitation systems in low-lying inundated areas.
The humanitarian community is developing a joint situation analysis with the Department of Disaster Management to provide a fuller picture 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.
UNICEF is working closely with divisional and district level government officials as well as line departments at the sub-national level, other UN agencies, Humanitarian Clusters, and international and national NGO partners to support preparedness activities and is ready to respond to the humanitarian situation throughout the country if required. In the two upazilas hosting Rohingya refugees, all the humanitarian responses will be led by the Inter-Sector Coordination Group.
In the first days after the landfall, there were limited data on the different sectoral impact and needs. The humanitarian clusters including those led/co-led by UNICEF are currently undertaking further assessment.
UNICEF and Partner Response
UNICEF has been pre-positioning emergency lifesaving supplies for up to 100,000 people in the country in the areas of WASH, nutrition, child protection and education. Field staff are ready to be deployed to affected areas to support emergency programmes with focus on children and women. UNICEF had contingency partnership agreements at sub-national levels covering over 82,000 people in Khulna, 71,000 in Barisal and 45,000 in Rangpur Divisions. Contingency plans were also in place for Chattogram, Sylhet and Mymensingh Divisions. UNICEF supported communication and messages dissemination in many districts of the country and is now engaged with coordinators of the information of the Needs Assessment Working Groups cluster-wise at the national level. Early information from Education Cluster indicates that 45 schools were severely damaged and 108 moderately damaged. Twenty-one schools will require support to repair its WASH facilities. The Government has not requested any assistance at this point in time from the UN agencies.