Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Wrath of Sidr

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It was in the hundreds, now it's in the thousands. The devastation has been immense and the death toll keeps rising. Such is what Cyclone Sidr has done to Bangladesh. The BBC has the latest:

At least 2,000 people are now reported dead after a powerful cyclone ripped through southern and central Bangladesh, officials say.

The government expects the figure to rise further, as parts of the affected area are still inaccessible.

Rescuers are trying to reach hundreds of thousands of survivors but debris and floods are hampering their efforts.

Cyclone Sidr destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of homes, brought down power lines and wiped out vital crops.

Natural disasters of this magnitude are all-too-common in Bangladesh, as in other parts of the world, many extremely poor and lacking the resources to build adequate defences, or even adequate shelter for millions of residents, and to organize adequate relief efforts without extensive international support. (Yes, I know, this sort of describes New Orleans, too. Alas.)

And with global warming, there is likely worse, much worse, to come: even stronger storms, massive flooding as the seas rise and overwhelm low-lying, high-density coastal areas, death tolls potentially in the tens and hundreds of thousands, if not the millions.

The horrors of today are also a glimpse into the future.


The BBC has published many photos of the devastation -- see here, here, and here. It is difficult to select just one to post here, but, for some reason, this one stood out.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home