05/23/2016, 09.31
BANGLADESH
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Cyclone Roanu leaves 24 victims and 500 thousand displaced. Caritas organizes relief efforts

by Sumon Corraya

Strong winds and heavy rain hit the coastal districts. Regional Caritas offices activate 246 emergency plans already in place for such situations. Thousands of people have been saved, many others appeal to government for aid. Aid from administration slow in coming.

 

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Caritas Bangladesh has organized teams  to the rescue people affected by cyclone Roanu that hit the coastal areas of the country. Within hours floods ripped through homes, huts and buildings, and flooded the southern part of the country, rescuers managed to save thousands of lives. Operations are still in progress, while the death toll has risen to 24 dead and 500 thousand people evacuated. James Gomes, regional Caritas director for the Chittagong district, tells AsiaNews: "The cyclone has destroyed fishermen’s trade. It will take a long time for them to recover losses”.

Three days of heavy rain and winds up to 88 mph have hit the coastal districts of Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Bhola, Borguna, Patuakhali, Barisal, Pirozpur, Jhalokathi, Bagherhat, Khulna and Satkhira. The surrounding islands were also affected  and the alert level was raised to seven.

The violent cyclone arrived from Sri Lanka, where last week it caused dozens of casualties, most of whom were buried under a mudslide. In the last hours the number of lifeless bodies recovered has risen to 92 people.

Through the regional offices in Barisal, Chittagong and Khulna, Caritas has activated 246 planes ready to respond to emergencies in 16 upazila (sub-districts). Pintu William Gomes, a member of disasters department, claims she has trained and organized the work of various organizations, such as the Ward Disaster Management Committees and the support team for the dissemination of alerts, rescue and first aid.

James Gomes also reports that "the rescued people have claimed to have asked the local government for help, for food and other material. But still no one helped them. "

The rains have isolated large parts of the country and the communications have been interrupted. Bangladesh is prone to natural disasters such as tropical cyclones. In 1991, one of these caused 140 thousand deaths.

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