3 May 2019: With wind speeds of up to 205 km (127 miles) per hour, cyclone Fani already hit India’s Puri and Odisha on Friday morning triggering heavy rainfall coupled with high winds between 180 and 200 kmph.
Following landfall in India, the cyclone, is likely to move in a north-northeasterly direction further over Odisha-west Bengal coastal area, reach Khulna and adjoining southwestern part of Bangladesh by midnight of 03 May or early morning if 04 May 2019. Peripheral impact has already started in Bangladesh with heavy wind and rainfall in parts of Khulna and Sathkhira.
The Mongla Port and Payra Port in Bangladesh have already raised the danger sign warning No. 7 (No. 10 being the highest). For Chattogram Port the danger signal is No. 6. The coastal low-lying areas may experience high tidal waves during the storm, according to the Met Office.
Bangladesh authorities are evacuating hundreds of thousands of people to over 3,800 storm shelters from the 19 southeast and southwest coastal districts. The govt. has already suspended inland and coastal vessel operations countrywide. Over 50,000 volunteers from Cyclone Preparation Programme have been alerted in the coastal areas.
Nearly 60 million people from 26 districts in Bangladesh are exposed to cyclonic storm and heavy rainfall.
“Cyclone Fani is heading towards Bangladesh through India and is likely to hit Bangladesh by Friday midnight or early Saturday morning. The best case scenario currently predicted is that heavy rains and strong winds will lash the coast for hours, if not days. The worst scenario will see massive destruction of homes, buildings, roads, electric lines, crops and more.”, says Zia Choudhury, CARE Bangladesh Country Director
CARE Bangladesh is mobilising all of its staff and resources from around the country to prepare for impact of cyclone Fani. In some areas, goods are being prepositioned, the assessment teams are ready to assess damage, and all teams are ready to rescue, repair and rebuild.
“The Humanitarian Team of CARE Bangladesh is tracking the cyclone and supporting staff living in the vulnerable coastal areas. CARE has over 600 staff working across six coastal districts, all of which are currently in the danger zone. We are concerned about the people we serve, our colleagues and their families from the coastal belt offices: Barisal, Cox’s Bazaar, Khulna, Patuakhali, Pirojpur and Satkhira.”, adds Zia Choudhury.
“Aside from the damage of coastal embankments, we are anticipating contamination of water sources, people getting hurt by flying debris, or worse e.g. children getting drowned or people getting washed away in high tides. Some pockets of the bordering districts could be highly impacted and the humanitarian agencies must respond accordingly.”, tells Kaiser Rejve, Humanitarian & Resilience Director of CARE Bangladesh
Along with countrywide program participants and staff, CARE Bangladesh is also concerned about over one million Rohingya Refugees and the host community around the camps. Although Cox’s Bazar remains outside the direct trajectory of the storm, heavy wind or heavy rainfall there can induce landslides and may impact on shelters, latrines and clinics, loss of assets, contaminated water sources and even loss of life.
“The places these refugees live is fragile even when dry. When it rains heavily, the hilly, bare, terrain can become a muddy and hazardous place. I worry about the refugees and the host communities, especially women and girls, who usually suffer most. Our staff is mobilized to respond, especially in Camps 13 and 16, where we are responsible for over 60,000 people.”, shares Paul Daniels, Assistant Country Director – Humanitarian Response, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
To ensure a countrywide coordinated response, CARE Bangladesh is also maintaining close contacts with its emergency response partners. “While cyclone Fani may get weaker when it reaches Bangladesh, strong wind and heavy rainfall may still damage the coastal polders and inundate low lying areas. This would bring a lot of sufferings to people, especially women, adolescent girls and children. We are ready to work together with CARE Bangladesh to assess and respond to possible impacts”, shares Momotaz Khatun, Executive Director of Ashroy Foundation, one of CARE Bangladesh’s emergency partners based in south-western Khulna district.
CARE Bangladesh also leads the national “Needs Assessment Working Group”, where we are responsible for coordinating between Government, United Nations and agencies like CARE, to assess the needs of disaster affected people within hours of the impact.
“Our teams are mobilised and ready to speed into action. I do have full confidence that our highly skilled and committed teams will pull together to serve the people most in need.”, concludes Zia Choudhury concludes.,
For media queries and support, please contact:
1. Hillol Sobhan, Communications and PR Coordinator, CARE Bangladesh, mobile: +8801711-854099, office: +880-2-9889009/131 (Sunday-Thursday), email: Hillol.Sobhan@care.org (currently based in Dhaka, Bangladesh)
LANGUAGE: English and Bangla
For media interviews the following colleagues are available:
1, Zia Choudhury, Country Director, Mobile: +880-1708496489, Office: +880-2-9889009, email: Zia.Choudhury@care.org (currently based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, can speak on the Rohingya situation and overall country response)
2. Paul Daniels, ACD Program, Humanitarian Response, Cox’s Bazar, Mobile: +8801847198770, email: Paul.Daniels@care.org (heading the Cox’s Bazar Rohingya Response and available in Cox, can speak on the overall preparation in Cox)
3. Mrityunjoy Das, Coordinator- Humanitarian and Resilience, Mobile: +8801711-156932, Office: +880-2-9889009/ 146, email: Mrityunjoy.Das@care.org (Based in Dhaka and can speak on the overall CARE Bangladesh response)
LANGUAGE: English & Bangla
4. Crystal Whitaker, Emergency Shelter Advisor, Programmes, Cox’s Bazar, Mobile: +8801881564872, email: Whitaker@careinternational.org (Based in Cox’s Bazar, can speak on the Rohingya Response)