2007-11-17

Cyclone Sidr kills 600

From the Weather Department:
At least 600 people are reported to have died after a powerful cyclone smashed into Bangladesh's coast, levelling villages and uprooting trees.

Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated or sought safe shelter before the storm hit the coast from the Bay of Bengal, but some were left behind.

The true extent of the devastation remains unclear as the storm has blocked access to the affected areas.

The storm weakened on Friday as it passed through the capital, Dhaka.

As it was downgraded to a tropical storm, attention turned to assessing the devastation and distributing aid.
This is far better than the hundreds of thousands who have died in similar weather events over the decades. Bangladesh, with its poverty and massive population, is always going to suffer terribly when things like this happen.

Thank God the 2004 Tsunami only grazed them. Had the tsunami travelled north instead of west, I would guestimate that half the country would have been covered with water and the death toll would be in the millions rather than the official 230,000 count.

The good news is that Bangladesh seems to becoming a more settled place to live. Although poverty is still bad there, the United Nations Human Development Index gives it a score of 0.530, which means that it is now considered a "second world" nation rather than a third world one. Improved education, communication and median income has probably helped provide conditions that have mitigated the effects of natural disasters.


1 comment:

Ron Lankshear said...

This morning reports were 2000 dead and this evening SBS said Thousands.

When Chris and Ron were in Dhaka in 1989 a Cyclone hit. The black shy looked ghastly from the Mission home at which we were staying. The missionaries were ready with pump drills to go and help get fresh water after the floods go down.

We flew across Bangladesh to a town on border with India. Most of Bangladesh looked as though it was just the might river delta. River goes up - and floods. It just seems to be in such a bad place.

Seemed very Third World to me and this damage will be a big impact.