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Tropical storm Mahasen strikes Bangladesh coast

24 May 2013

Tropical storm Mahasen struck the low lying coastal areas of southern Bangladesh on Thursday 16 May, causing 17 deaths, injuring 1,800 and affecting more than a million lives.

Heavy winds and hammering rains caused severe storm surges, damaging almost 120,000 homes in the worst affected districts of Bhola, Barguna and Patuakhali - around 20,000 of which were completely destroyed.

Our emergency response

Christian Aid immediately released £100,000 of emergency funds for longstanding partners - Shushilan and the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB) - to provide urgent food supplies, water and shelter.

Having carried out emergency assessments, they are working alongside other organisations to make certain the needs of the most vulnerable are met.

Preparing for the worst 

The UN warned that as many as 8.2 million people - in Bangladesh, Myanmar and northeast India - could be at risk from Cyclone Mahasen – later downgraded to a tropical storm.

As the country braced itself for Mahasen's onslaught, Christian Aid partners continually monitored the situation and supported the government in preparing for the worst possible outcome.

Partners were instrumental in warning communities of the danger and preparing them for evacuation to cyclone shelters.

In the district of Khulna, 250 people took refuge in a recently constructed cyclone shelter, built with the support of Christian Aid partner, Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK).  

Early warning systems

Ram Kishan, Christian Aid’s south Asia regional emergency manager said: ‘Bangladesh has a robust early warning system at both local and national level, with radio and TV channels relaying information and warning people of the threat.

‘However, it’s in the remote, hard to reach areas where Christian Aid partners have been helping most. The early warning systems – sirens, announcements via loudspeakers, hoisted flags indicating the extent of the danger – have all proved successful in helping communities evacuate to safer ground.

‘Planning and preparing for emergencies such as this is crucial and I am pleased to say that Christian Aid partners and volunteers have worked tirelessly to help communities shelter safely from this storm.’

How you can help

Please donate to our disasters and emergencies fund to help us respond to those in urgent need.

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