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14 Years of Cyclone Sidr

Families of the missing yet to get assistance

  • ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman
  • 16 November, 2021 12:00 AM
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Families of the missing yet to get assistance

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Fourteen years have elapsed since super cyclone Sidr wreaked havoc on life and property in the southern region of the country on November 15 in 2007.

The families of the people who went missing in the cyclone are yet to get assistance from the government.

Most of the sluice gates and embankments damaged by the tropical storm have still been lying uncared for.

Sidr hit more than 31 coastal districts of the country, leaving nearly 3,406 people dead and 1,001 others missing. Over 55,000 people were also injured in the cyclone.

Disaster Expert Gawher Nayeem Wahra told the Daily Sun that even family members of the missing people are yet to be brought under the social safety net programme.

The families of the missing people are facing difficulties in earning their livelihood and even wives of the missing men are yet to get widow allowance, he said.

“Sluice gates and embankments damaged by Sidr are yet to be repaired after 14 years of the natural disaster,” Wahra added.

“Many missing people lost their memories and couldn’t find their homes and return. The government can’t make any system to find the missing people,” the disaster expert mentioned.

“The government is yet to bring the missing people’s children to schools and provide them with any assistance.”

“Masura Begum, wife of missing fisherman Zakir Hossain of Badurtala in Patharghata upazila of Barguna, could not send her four daughters to school. One died. She forced to marry three other girls at their early ages,” the disaster expert.

Cyclone Sidr hit with winds of up to 240 km per hour on November 15, 2007. The category 4-storm was accompanied by tidal waves up to five metres high and surges up to six meters in some areas, breaking coastal and river dams and embankments, flooding low-lying coastal areas, and causing widespread physical damage.

The country has got a lesson over the weather signalling system in the country during Sidr that is yet to be improved.

A study conducted by the government in 2008 shows that the total losses and damage caused by Sidr were estimated to Tk 115.6 billion.

As for the loss of housing, it was found that 34 percent of the total affected households completely lost their primary residences, and 17 percent of households were partially damaged.

Sidr caused damage to around 8,075km of roads in 11 districts of the country. This damage was estimated to be Tk 8 billion.

 The damage to the power sector was estimated to be Tk 576 million, 90 percent of which was borne by the Rural Electrification Board (REB).

The cyclone partially or fully damaged 5,927 educational institutions, which resulted in a total value of damage and losses of Tk 4.7 billion.

It also affected the health, nutrition, and family planning department in the nine districts.

The total value of damage and losses to this department was determined to be Tk 1,206 billion.