Cyclone Sidr devastated parts of Bangladesh on November 15, 2007, leaving a trail of death and destruction in its path as winds of up to 160 mph swept through the Southeast Asian nation of 150 million people. Reports indicate at least 3,300 casualties, but that number is expected to rise in the coming days as soldiers and relief workers struggle to reach areas of the country that were completely cut off by the storm.
Upwards of 650,000 Bangladeshis were evacuated to shelters before the storm struck. It remains unclear when they will be able to return to their homes, assuming that their homes weren’t destroyed by the worst storm to hit the country since 1991.
LIFE for Relief and Development is monitoring the situation closely from our office in Pakistan, and is currently working with partner organizations to come up with an effective response strategy. A special Bangladesh Cyclone Emergency Fund has been set up by LIFE for donors who wish to assist in the relief effort.
Rescue and recovery efforts have been hampered by down power and phone lines, along with roads that have become inaccessible due to debris or washout conditions.
According to a spokesman for the European Commission, "Preliminary indications are that the most pressing needs will be food, safe drinking water, emergency shelter, clothing, blankets and medicine.”
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Bangladesh, itself an impoverished nation, donated $1 million towards relief efforts along the American Gulf Coast. LIFE encourages all Americans to reciprocate this generosity and aid Bangladeshis who are currently suffering their own version of Katrina.