RIYADH: A total of 170 cyclone shelters funded by the Kingdom will be formally handed to the Bangladesh government this week in its coastal capital of Chittagong, according to news by Arab News.
Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, chairman of the King Abdullah International Foundation for Humanitarian Activities, which funded the program, will leave for Dhaka on Monday to present the newly built shelters to the the Bangladesh government.
During the 2007 Cyclone Sidr, the Kingdom was the first country to donate $100 million to help Bangladesh in its relief efforts.
Bangladesh Ambassador Golam Moshi told Arab News that these cyclone shelters will be used for schools and madrasas in coastal towns such as Chittagong, Khulna, Patuakhali and Vhola. In case of cyclone, he said, these shelters will be used as temporary shelters for people who are likely to be affected by the winds.
“They are fully equipped to accommodate a large number of would-be cyclone victims and they have all facilities needed for such refugees,” he said, thanking the Saudi government for the Kingdom’s concern and assistance to these people.
On November 15, 2007, Cyclone Sidr struck the southwest coast of Bangladesh with winds up to 240 kilometers per hour. The Category 4 storm was accompanied by waves of up to five meters high and storm surges of up to six meters in some areas, breaching coastal and river embankments, flooding low-lying areas and causing extensive physical destruction. High winds and floods also caused damage to housing, roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
The cyclone was the second natural disaster to affect Bangladesh in twelve months. Monsoon floods had previously caused extensive agricultural losses and destruction of physical assets, totaling near $1.1 billion.
Of the 2.3 million households affected by some degree by Cyclone Sidr, about 1 million were seriously affected. The number of deaths caused by the storm is estimated at 3,406, with 1,001 still missing, and over 55,000 people sustaining physical injuries.
Improved disaster prevention measures, including an improved forecasting and warning system, coastal afforestation projects, cyclone shelters and embankments are credited with lower casualty rates than what would have been expected, given the severity of the storm.-Asfar