Disasters in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a disaster prone country in the South Asian region. Every year Bangladesh experience enormous sufferings of human livings in the form of floods, cyclone and other natural calamities.
Disaster Management by AFD:
Armed Forces Division plays a vital role in disaster management as part of our overall national strategy to cope with disaster. We have a comprehensive set of standing orders for disaster management (SOD), delineating the role and responsibility of all concerned agencies in disaster management. The Food and Disaster Management Ministry is the prime Government organ on whose request, AFD works primarily in aid to the civil power to mitigate the crisis. The prime role of AFD is to coordinate the employment of Armed Forces in disaster management and the over all relief operation.
Army, Navy and Air Force personnel deployed down to sub district level who are engaged in the relief operation. A monitoring cell is established to coordinate with all concerned ministries of the government, which includes MOFA, MOHA, Civil Aviation, MOFDM, Ministry of Health and of course friendly Armed Forces.
Armed Forces provide following service to affected population:
- Transportation of relief goods by Air Force assets (Helicopter and Fixed Wing Air Craft) from Dhaka.
- Transportation of relief goods in affected districts through road and river route using Army and Naval and Civil assets.
- Augment civil health care service by Armed Forces Medical Teams.
- Clearing of roads and restoration of road communication.
- Assist in restoration of telecommunication.
Brief "Cyclone - SIDR":
The Cyclone SIDR one of the severest cyclone Bangladesh has witnessed in many years struck our south western coast at 1900 hrs BST on 15th November with unprecedented fury with a wind speed of 250 km/hr and water surge up to 8 feet.
This has swept across our whole southern part taking away thousands of human lives, crushing their houses, damaging their property, leveling the paddy fields, killing large number of cattle, destroying their workplaces, schools, markets and everything that came in its way. Millions have been rendered shelter less who are languishing under the open sky being mercilessly whipped by hunger and thirst. Most of our populations living in those areas being farmers and fishermen have been rendered hapless, because they have lost all their possessions including their valuable cattle, fishing boats and nets, not to talk about the irrecoverable loss of their near and dear ones.
People hardly can afford to have the luxury of mourning their loss of lives of their relatives as they have to begin the daily struggle of their survival. The cyclone has caused a serious damage to our roads, communication infrastructure including ferries and pontoons. It has devastated the largest mangrove forest in the world - Sundarbans and the wildlife therein to an unprecedented degree.
The cyclone affected 161 Sub Districts out of 173 in 24 Districts. It has severely damaged paddy and vegetable cultivation in the area. The death toll as on now is 3334 (Up to 30 November 2007). Though the death toll is low compared to other major calamities we suffered in the past, the unbearable sufferings of survivors have much overwhelmed the death figures.
Relevant Information on the Cyclone: (Up to 30 November 2007)
Priorities at the moment are:
- Provide live saving food and Medicare.
- Safe drinking water.
- Assist in preparation of temporary shelter.
Next Priorities are:
- Render assistance in reconstruction of houses.
- Construction of cyclone shelters in next phase.
- Further improvement of snapped communication including restoration of ferry services.
- Assist in repair works of road, embankments etc.
- Agriculture rehabilitations.
Some Options Considered:
- Cyclone Shelters Specimen, dimension, utility, cost per unit, number of shelters in districts, total number, total cost involved, and time required to construct.
Low cost prefab shelter - to be used temporarily.
- Individual houses two room houses with toilet- model and cost involved total number required and cost involved.
- Food grain - Rice, pulse, oil, sugar, wheat Affected population, unit requirement for four months, logic, total requirement.
- Water purification
- Other Infrastructure development - Warning system and forecasting, Storage, at district HQs distribution system.
We mention with much gratitude that we are getting timely response from good number of friendly countries who have pledged their whole hearted support in bolstering our efforts to face the calamity. We have already started receiving assistance from a host of friendly countries including Japan, Pakistan, India and USA. Besides European Union, relevant organs of UN and other international organizations are also helping the government to tackle the crisis.
Involvement of US Forces:
Over the last few days we have interacted closely with the personnel of US Embassy, US Office of Foreign Disaster Aid Department and US Marines, starting from top military decision makers to staff level.
Following assets are being offered by the US Forces initially:
- Helicopter and fixed wing aircraft
- Water purification capability of ships including Water delivery by helicopter.
- Medical service.
- Landing crafts for inland transportation.