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Monday, November 19, 2007
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Armed forces hand relief to cyclone victims

The armed forces have been handing out relief materials to the cyclone-affected people in the remote areas.

“Although we could not reach some places physically, we have airdropped relief materials in those areas,” General Staff Officer-1 of Armed Forces Division (AFD) Lt Col Mainullah Chowdhury said at a press briefing yesterday.

The AFD is supervising all the emergency aid operations in the areas affected by cyclone Sidr that swept over the country's coastline early Friday.

Lt Col Mainullah said a meeting between the representatives of AFD, NGO bureau, relief and disaster management ministry and several other ministries concerned at the AFD office yesterday discussed the possible strategies to accelerate relief and rescue operations.

“Commanders of joint forces deployed in the affected areas will supervise the relief distribution work,” he said adding that different NGOs are also working in the remote cyclone-hit areas.

When asked whether they would take foreign aid to tackle the crisis, he said it would be decided at the higher level of the government.

Mainullah said they received reports of 2,027 deaths with the highest death toll of 610 in Bagerhat as of 2:00pm yesterday.

He said information received from army, navy and air force members working in the cyclone-hit areas shows that about 930 people were missing in six districts.

He said according to their estimation, crops on 237,562 hectares of land were damaged and 5,500 livestock got killed in 11 badly affected districts.

Mainullah said they had received 91 tonnes of food in Dhaka while Bangladesh Rifles assured them of providing with another 1,400 tonnes of food items.

He said substantial improvement has been achieved in restoring electricity supply and only 25-30 percent areas in the affected districts are yet to get back power.

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