Displaying items by tag: Cyclone Amphan

Relief and recovery after Cyclone Amphan displaces 3 million in Bangladesh and India

Super Cyclone Amphan, the "strongest storm ever recorded over the Bay of Bengal, hit the border of India and Bangladesh straight like an arrow last Wednesday. Thankfully, Indian and Bangladesh governments had been quick to evacuate some 3 million people to cyclone shelters before the storm made landfall, helping save many lives.

As of May 23rd, the death count was at least 95, around 25 are from Bangladesh and 70 from India. Not discounting the lives that were lost, we are thankful that this super cyclone did not claim hundreds of thousands as is the case with Cyclone Bholo, to which its potential havoc had been compared earlier.

However, despite this win, the cyclone did not depart without first destroying homes, sources of livelihood, and other properties.
In Bangladesh and India, around 2 million and 1 million were evacuated, respectively, amidst the challenges of physical distancing and other precautions that needed to be observed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bangladesh has 30,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases while India has more than 125,000.

Nevertheless, this tragedy is not yet over. Millions of evacuees are now in make-do communal shelters where physical distancing and hygiene protocols may be compromised. Not to mention, sources of food and provision have been disrupted and damaged.

Agriculture and fishing account for almost half of the jobs in Bangladesh and support more than 70% of the population, according to the Asian Development Bank.

A team from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has conducted a Rapid Needs Assessment. Early findings suggest damage to fisheries especially to smallholder shrimp farmers. Thankfully, most crops had been harvested before the cyclone hit.

Let us pray for the efficient and sufficient deployment of relief for all affected families especially the refugees and most vulnerable among them.

Let us also lift up the UN World Food Program, the Bangladesh and Indian governments, and other humanitarian organizations that are in the position to reach these displaced families with aid.

Protecting Bangladesh

Bangladesh has long known its needs to improve its defences from storm surges like Amphan as these can damage livelihoods in rural areas where more than 80% of its poor live.

In fact, the Bangladesh government started raising funds for its Delta Plan 2100, an eight-decade program that hopes to strengthen its climate resilience, and which had been approved in 2018. Almost a third of Delta's first-phase budget "is earmarked for 23 coastal projects to prevent flooding, including land reclamation and building islands and polders."

However, “The government will have to prioritize the immediate response and recovery effort over longer-term development projects," according to an Asia analyst.

According to Shamsul Alam, the lead author of the Delta Plan, “The coronavirus is one truth we’re facing now and climate change is another,” he said. “We need to handle these two issues in a combined way."

Please pray for the 3 million or more displaced individuals. Many of them are refugees and do not have anyone else they can turn to for help. Pray for hope, healing from trauma, and for God to provide for their every need.

Pray for protection from the spread of the coronavirus. Pray as well for God's intervention for both short- and long-term problems that Bangladesh and India are facing.

Pray for the witness of the Holy Spirit especially to those who are in most need of Him. Pray for opportunities for the gospel to be preached and lives to be touched by God.




Thursday, 21 May 2020 23:46

Bangladesh / India: Cyclone Amphan

Super Cyclone Amphan, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal, has devastated Bangladesh and India with sustained winds of 165 mph - equivalent to a category 5 hurricane. Up to 300,000 people in coastal areas are in immediate danger from deadly storm surges and flooding. Thousands are homeless. India’s worst damage is in West Bengal's coastal districts that were ‘pulverised’. Nearly every coastal district in Bangladesh was damaged. Evacuations across the region were complicated by the pandemic, as authorities tried to maintain social distancing rules. Pray for the thousands left homeless as Amphan heaps misery on coronavirus-hit communities, particularly the 14 million in Kolkata - situated in its direct path. Pray for those in mourning, the injured, and those clearing debris from impassable roads, rescuing flood victims and organising aid as heavy rains continue to fall on hard-hit areas.

Published in Worldwide