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Millions affected as Cyclone Fani hits India and Bangladesh, ADRA readies response

Casualties continue to rise, as the strongest typhoon in five years barrels across the region.

Millions affected as Cyclone Fani hits India and Bangladesh, ADRA readies response

[Photo credit: ADRA Bangladesh]

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After making landfall in the eastern state of Odisha, India, Cyclone Fani continued its path northeast of Bangladesh on Saturday, May 4, destroying thousands of households and leaving towns submerged in floodwaters in the two South Asian countries.

Cyclone Fani is said to be the strongest typhoon to hit these two countries in the last five years. After hitting land on Friday, India’s Meteorological Department said Fani lost power and was downgraded to a depression. 

However, locals in Bangladesh are still being advised to take extra caution as storm surges are still a problem in low lying areas of the country. The storm has  submerged villages and towns in the northeast, particularly in the Noakhali and Bhola districts where many were reportedly injured. 

Local reports in Bangladesh said more than a dozen people died and 63 people were injured with more than one million people evacuated to safety. Local government units in Bangladesh emphasized an estimated 1.2 million people were moved to evacuation sites to avoid higher casualties.

According to reports, casualties could have been more fatal if evacuation was not done, especially for families living in low lying areas in the district of Noakhali where damage was the most severe.

Adventists in Bangladesh are working through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.  Days prior to cyclone’s landfall, the humanitarian organization began monitoring the situation and preparation for rapid assessment was intensified to respond immediately to Fani’s fury.

According to the National Disaster Response Coordination Center (NDRCC) of the disaster management and relief ministry of Bangladesh, Fani devastated crops on 1,830 acres of land and partially damaged crops on 119,832 acres of land in 26 districts. An estimated 13,000 houses were fully or partially damaged due to Fani’s cyclonic storm particularly in coastal districts of Bhola, Chandpur, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira, Patuakhali, and Barguna, according to NDRCC.

Additional reports said, 36 villages in Patuakhali, Bagerhat, Bhola, and Satkhira were flooded as storm surges continued to rise and overflew houses. A total of 32.28km (more than 20 miles) of earthen dams were damaged. 

ADRA Bangladesh volunteers stepped into the situation on Sunday to assess the situation and see what were the urgent needs of families affected by the storms. ADRA plans to start distribution in the districts of Bhola and Patuakhali.

ADRA Bangladesh is working closely with local government units, Non-profitt organizations, food security clusters, shelter clusters, and churches to identify what the immediate and greatest needs of those impacted. Basic needs such as ready to eat food, make shift shelters, bedding, water, medicine, and clothes are greatly needed for distribution.

“You are a valuable member of our emergency response team,” said Syed Abu Saleh, ADRA Bangladesh Communications and Public Relations. “In emergencies like this, your gift is vital in helping those severely affected by providing them life-saving equipment like hygiene kits, temporary shelters, and other urgent resources,” 

ADRA distributes relief goods immediately after assessment to affected areas. You can learn more about what ADRA Bangladesh is doing after Cyclone Fani and how you can get involved on ADRA Bangladesh’s website.