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Cyclone claims 275 lives: CEN 6.12.09 p 6. June 12, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of Bangladesh, Church of England Newspaper, Church of North India, Disaster Relief.

Tropical Cyclone Aila, the first major storm of the 2009 monsoon season in South Asia, has come ashore in the Bay of Bengal, drowning at least 275 people and leaving millions homeless.

The Church of North India’s Bishop of Durgapur, Bishop Probal Kanto Dutta reports the situation in the aftermath of the storm is “grave and countless people have lost their lives.”

The cyclone came struck West Bengal and Bangladesh on May 25, triggering tidal surges and widespread flooding. In West Bengal at least 5.1 million people were displaced, with more than one million people stranded in the Sundarban islands alone, most of them without any food or water, government press handouts report. Approximately 100 confirmed deaths have been reported in India and 175 in Bangladesh.

“The tidal surges and floods triggered by Aila have washed away roads, damaged bridges and submerged fields,” said John Gomes, communications officer for World Vision in Bangladesh. “Some areas are just totally inaccessible as they are underwater and there are simply not enough boats to get relief out to these people who are sleeping out in the open with no shelter.”

Writing to supporters in the UK, the Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh, Bishop Paul Sarker reported that “I am sorry to inform you that the storm was not at all a light one [as] I thought yesterday. From yesterday evening it has become very strong cyclone and gone through from the South-West coastal area to the north. The sea water came up to 7-8 feet high and washed away many houses and crops in the coastal area.”

Bishop Dutta wrote that his diocese “has two districts which have been hit by this cyclone. We are yet to take stock of the losses. No vehicles or transports are moving now.”

We request all friends and well wishers of the Diocese of Durgapur to prayer for us,” he said.

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