Cyclone Sidr- What we can do
Just when we were starting to slowly recover from the monsoon floods in the northern parts of the country, Cyclone Sidr has ravaged 22 districts of Bangladesh as one of the worst natural calamities to have happened in the nation's history. Sidr has been described as a category 4 Cyclone (deadlier than Katrina) and has raged its severest onslaughts packing winds of 240 km/h (150mph) on the southern coast of Bangladesh from about 5:30 pm, Thursday 15th November to early Friday (16th November). After that, it weakened into a tropical storm and moved across the country to the northeastern part into India.
Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated thanks to localized early warning systems in place (using microphone canvassing, radio bulletins etc) and so a huge number of lives were saved. Airports suspended flight operations and sea ports ceased operations. When the Cyclone struck communications and electricity supplies were snapped across the country. Most parts of the coastal region were virtually blacked out during the night. The capital Dhaka had power and communications link cut off as driving rains flooded some streets and strong winds sent billboards flying through the air. Buildings and roofs were shaken by fierce winds during the night, and that by morning power and water supplies had been cut. However, the power and other utility systems in Dhaka and most of the areas were brought back to a normal level within two days.
But before leaving, Sidr had managed to ravage the lives of hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of the coastal region death toll currently stands at over 3000 and the Red Crescent has estimated that it can reach up to 10,000 or more in the end. The cyclone left its mark of devastation on 133 upazilas (in 22 districts), 962 unions, affecting a population of 3.144 million of about 88,700 families. The storm killed 242,000 livestock and completely destroyed crops on 23,122 - acre land including 600,000 metric tons of Aman Rice. According to an estimate, 273,000 houses were totally flattened, with 58 km roads totally destroyed and another 1,363km damaged.
According to reports, the total damages came close to 450 million US Dollars!
It has been reported that already 25 million US Dollars have been pledged by different foreign organizations as aids to help the cyclone affected people. But a huge amount of money would still be required to get things back into shape. All of us, from all walks of life should involve ourselves in this rehabilitation and aids process in any way we can. Maybe a little less shopping this season, maybe a little less lighting and extravagance in our social functions, a little less dining out perhaps and that can make all the difference.
Here is a list of ways how you can make a change:
For People living in Bangladesh and all over the world
Those who wish to help, may remit cash directly to the following account:
Chief Adviser's Relief and Welfare Fund,
Current Account No. 33004093, Sonali Bank,
Prime Minister's Office Branch,
Tejgaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
SWIFT Code: BSONBDDH.
For People Living In Canada
Those living in CANADA and wishing to help, may please send bank/postal draft, cheque to be drawn on any of the following bank account:
Prime Minister's Relief Fund,
Account No. 00236-5077441,
Royal Bank of Canada,
99 Bank Street, Ottawa, Canada,
C/O - Bangladesh High Commission,
Ottawa. SWIFT Code : ROYCATT2.
If you are sending bank/postal draft, cheque , etc., you may also send it to Bangladesh High Commission in Ottawa (275 Bank street, Suite-302, Ottawa, ON K2P 2L6) for deposit with the accounts.
Please also note that at the special request of the High Commission, some money exchanges/remitting agencies owned by Bangladeshi expatriates in Toronto and Montreal have agreed to remit money to any of the above relief funds free of charges or commissions.
You can visit
http://www.bdhc.org/new.htm for further details.
For People Living In Australia
Bangladesh High Commission,
Account Name: Relief Fund
Account Number: 032729 199161
Bank: Westpac Banking Corporation
Branch: Manuka, ACT
You can visit
for more information.
For People Living In Usa
Individuals or organizations desiring to make donations may send their contributions directly to the Chief Adviser's Relief Fund in the following address:
Chief Adviser's Relief and Welfare Fund
Current Account No. 33004093
SWIFT Code: BSONBDDH
Sonali Bank, Prime Minister's Office Branch
Individuals or organisations may also send the donation to the relief fund by money transfer agencies. If the donations are sent through the Sonali Exchange Co., USA, no additional fees for transfer will be required. In that case, the amount should be directly paid in cash or through cheque (payable) to Sonali Exchange Co. Inc. USA. (Please mention 'For Chief Adviser's Relief and Welfare Fund' in the space for 'Memo') The Sonali Exchange will send the money to the Chief Adviser's Relief and Welfare Fund within the next business day and will issue a confirmation receipt in favor of the donor. 'Placid Express' has also announced that donation to the 'Chief Adviser's Relief and Welfare Fund' can be remitted without any transfer fee.
As for sending relief materials, the Government of Bangladesh would prefer receiving food grains, water purification tablets, water purification units for the rehabilitation works. However, the cost of shipment will have to be borne by the sender (s) of such relief materials.
For any clarification on the procedure, please contact Bangladesh Consulate General in New York directly or speak to Mr. Salahuddin Noman Chowdhury, Consul at 1-212-599-6767 ext 15/10/21 or 212-687-5368.
Please visit www.bdcgny.org/archive/instructions_flood_donations.html for further information.
Also, information about donating specifically to aid Bangladesh cyclone victims will be available on:
Many young people do not have bank accounts but are interested in donating. You can simply use your cell phone for the purpose. If you have a Bangladeshi cell phone connection, simply type 'help' and send a SMS to 1010 - every time you do that, the respective company will give an entire 10 Taka from your balance to the Chief Adviser's Relief Fund. It should be noted that all the six cell phone providers in Bangladesh - Grameen Phone, Banglalink, Aktel, Citycell, Warid Telecom and Teletalk are offering their facilities in this process.
Most of the universities and colleges (especially in Dhaka) are launching campaigns for helping the cyclone hit people. Try to find what's happening at your institution and help them in an way and every way you can money, dry food, clothes, essential medicines or even volunteering for the cyclone donation programs and going in person to the effected areas to understand what the people are going through!
I'd personally request all the respected readers of Star Campus, to avail any of the methods mentioned above and help the poor, distraught people of the coastal regions who have practically lost whatever they had. Please feel free to post the online version of this article (http://thedailystar.net/campus/2007/11/04/feature_cyclone_sidr.htm) into your blogs, Facebook notes or any other place for more publicity so that more and more Bangladeshis (and well wishers of the country) can come forward for this great cause.