Bangladesh: Tropical Storm Mahasen
16 May 2013
As Tropical Storm Mahasen hits Bangladesh, our emergency team is ready to respond.
Tropical Storm Mahasen is beginning to hit the south coast of Bangladesh, with heavy rain and winds of up to 60 km/h. People are bracing themselves for flash flooding and widespread damage to buildings and farmland.
Our longstanding local partner Caritas Bangladesh has put more than 5,000 trained volunteers on standby, and ensured that stocks of emergency aid will be available as soon as they are needed.
Dr Kate Crowley, our Disaster Risk Reduction Adviser, said:
“This storm could cause severe damage. It’s almost the same strength as Cyclone Aila, which left a million people homeless in 2009. We are ready to support Caritas Bangladesh in providing immediate aid if necessary, once the impact becomes clear.
“As well as responding to emergencies, we believe it’s crucial to help people prepare in advance for natural disasters, in order to lessen their impact.
“Alongside Caritas Bangladesh and other local organisations, we’ve helped villages to set up better early warning systems, to build properly equipped cyclone shelters, and to create community disaster savings schemes.
“We’ve also supported people in raising their houses off the ground, so that they don’t get flooded, and in using new agricultural techniques that mean their crops are less likely to get washed away.
“And we’ve tried to ensure that some of the most vulnerable people – such as women, children and disabled people – have a say in how local governments prepare for disasters. It’s vital that those who are likely to be worst affected by cyclones are at the centre of planning how to respond.
“We hope that at least some of these preparations will help lessen the impact of this storm.”