Tropical storm Roanu rages through Bangladesh – First successes for disaster management in Gibika
Bangladesh was hit once again by a tropical storm on 21 May 2016. Cyclone Roanu made landfall in the evening, not far from the seaport of Chittagong on the southeast coast. The good news is that the emergency systems are beginning to take effect.
On 18 May 2016, a low pressure system in the North Indian Ocean developed into a cyclone and made its way north along the east coast of India towards Bangladesh. The losses balance: roughly 20 kilometres of dams destroyed, several villages flooded, and by far more than 50,000 houses damaged. 27 people lost their lives – most of them due to collapsing buildings or falling trees. Around 1.3 million persons were directly affected by the cyclone’s impact.
Emergency systems take effect
Thanks to comprehensive disaster risk reduction and preventative measures, the risk and vulnerability to natural disasters could be mitigated and the number of deaths drastically reduced. Nevertheless, Cyclone Sidr in 2007 still claimed the lives of some 3,500 people. At that time, 70 people living in the small village of Dalbanga South alone were killed. Together with the municipal authorities, we plan to improve the early warning system in this community within the framework of our Gibika project.
Raising risk awareness for disasters
The implementation phase has begun at exactly the right time. According to reports from our cooperation partners on the ground, the village community was better prepared this time. The flags signalling a storm strength of 1-6 were hoisted in time, and there were no major injuries. Despite the death toll of 27 in Bangladesh, the cyclone also demonstrates an example of success in the country: disaster risk management is increasingly proving itself effective; damages and losses in much greater scale are being prevented.
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