Death Toll Rises From Flooding in Bangladesh.


Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh on Thursday, generating a six-meter-high tidal wave and causing widespread flooding and massive destruction in coastal communities. The flooding has been declared a national calamity by the government, and relief agencies are reporting that over 3,000 people have lost their lives. Aid workers fear the death toll will continue to rise as they gain access to the more remote areas that have been cut off by floodwaters. Aid groups are also voicing concerns about outbreaks of waterborne and other diseases. The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society is appealing for $5.7 million to cope with the disaster.

The Red Crescent Society predicts that, based on past experience, the death toll from this flood might surpass 10,000. And, according to news reports, relief aid has been slow to arrive because, in some remote areas, there is no government or relief-organization presence on the ground. The Chicago Sun Times reports on one farmer who has not received any aid for himelf or his family because food dropped by military helicopters is immediately carried off by mobs.

I don’t even know what to say. I know this catastrophe has something to do with global climate change, shifting weather patterns, and rising sea levels, but it seems pointless to get into that right now. The most important problem right now is that people are dying.

There’s not much I can do to help victims from here, but I will send money to aid groups that are in a better position to help people in Bangladesh. In the early days of the 2004 Asian Tsumani, donations from individual American donors surpassed the amount pledged by the US government. Individual giving can make a huge difference.

Below is a list of organizations that are raising funds for flood victims. If anyone knows of local Bangladeshi aid groups that are raising money IN Bangladesh, especially in remote rural areas, please give me their names and web addresses so I can add them to this list.

If my community were ever flooded, I’d hope people wouldn’t just shake their heads and turn away. Do unto others . . ..


Bangladesh Red Crescent Society

Save the Children – US

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies


Oxfam – UK

World Food Program

Also, I found this on the Adhunika blog:

BRAC has committed Tk 20 crore towards relief operations. Unfortunately BRAC is not accepting donations online. As most of you know, BRAC has a remarkable track record and is very cognizant of local conditions given that they are engaged in grass-roots activities. Human rights organization, Drishtipat, is collecting online donations for Phiriye Ano Bangladesh and BRAC on their website (see below).

Drishtipat is collecting donation for the flood victims. It also has put together a list of credible organizations that are engaged in flood relief efforts

There’s also a Facebook group with an EXTENSIVE LIST of organizations that are accepting donations.


14 thoughts on “Death Toll Rises From Flooding in Bangladesh.

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  2. Honestly? “Maruti Turbo” … leave your ignorance off this blog. Drawing attention to the situation in Bangladesh can only serve to educate more people about this tragedy. Maybe spend more time raising awareness about the cyclone than making asinine comments. Abdul, kudos to you for writing about it!


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  4. Further information on Cyclone Sidr from Global Human Rights Defence.

    Bangladesh Cyclone: Minority groups particularly vulnerable

    The Hague,
    20 November 2007

    Dear Friends,

    Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) would like to express its sincere condolences for the victims of Cyclone Sidr that hit the coast of Bangladesh on Thursday 15 November 2007. It has been reported to date it that the cyclone has claimed more than 2,000 lives, 15,000 have been injured and there are thousands of people still missing. 15 of the country’s 64 districts were affected, seven of them badly, including Patuakhali, Borguna, Bhola, Barisal, Satkhira, Bagerhat and Khulna, after tidal surges up to six metres high overwhelmed the low-lying area.

    Homes have been ripped apart, huge areas of farmland have been flooded and/or severely damaged and much of the country’s electricity and means of communication are still down. The cyclone, triggered by a tidal surge, has devastated three coastal towns and forced an evacuation of almost 1,000,000 people in the country. Death tolls are feared to rise to 10,000 according to GHRDs observer in Dhaka.

    There is a lack of food and clean water in many affected areas and access to such areas has been blocked due to the storm. The devastating effects left by the cyclone will be long term as the current political instability in the country does not allow for a rapid and effective relief plan.

    GHRD is extremely concerned that despite major humanitarian aid efforts in Bangladesh, there are still many remote areas inhabiting minority and indigenous communities that are not being reached. Neglected groups such as minorities, in particular women and children, suffer the most in natural disasters. This effect is felt most in a country such as Bangladesh that has extremely low social and economic rights for these groups.
    With existing patterns of discrimination, the privileged groups are likely to receive preferential treatment in rescue efforts.

    GHRD has therefore allied its partner organisation The Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) in a joint effort to raise funds to assist the minority victims of this catastrophe.

    You can help us support these victims through an online donation at

    Please distribute this message and encourage others to take action as well.


  5. Thanks Rezwan.

    I appreciate the comment. If the same thing were happening in Sierra Leone, or anywhere else for that matter, I would hope that people would reach into their pockets and send whatever they can.


  6. Maruti Turbo,

    While I normally try to be polite to the people who post comments on my blog, I have to say you are a fool. I have neither the time nor patience to be polite to paranoid, suspicious, and ignorant commenters like you.

    But I’ll try.

    [Takes deep breath] Read the other posts on my blog. You’ll see that I’m interested in many other things besides Bangladesh. I’ve written on plantains, sex, gay rights, women’s rights, religion, American politics, sex, Sierra Leone, sex, monks demonstrating in Burma, and much, much more.

    As for hidden agendas, how about this one? I enjoy learning about things and exchanging ideas with people. And, when I can, I use my blog to voice my support for people who are suffering. Pretty sinister, eh?

    Oh, and for the record, I think violence against women is a horrible and despicable—but widespread—crime that should be stamped out everywhere in the world. But I don’t think I’ve hidden that particular agenda. Read some of my other blog posts. You’ll see.

    As always, thanks for reading my blog. I hope my response allays some of your paranoia.

    And please, don’t forget to make a contribution to the victims of the devastating floods in Bangladesh.

    Maruti Turbo, all sarcasm aside, it seems there’s a bit of history you do not know. Towards the end of the civil war in Sierra Leone, the UN deployed about 8000 Bangladeshi peacekeepers to that war-torn country, which also happens to be the country of my birth. Unlike other peacekeepers who raped Sierra Leonean women and looted homes (I won’t name names but let’s just say the majority of these “peacekeepers” came from a certain oil-producing West African country), the Bangladeshis were model soldiers. Better than model soldiers. They built schools, clinics, mosques, and generally went far above and beyond the call of duty to help the victims of the war in Sierra Leone. They were there for five years, and on the day they pulled out of the country, the roads and highways were lined with Sierra Leoneans, many of whom wept openly as they bade farewell to the Bangladeshi peacekeepers who had shown them so much love and compassion, and who had done so much to help them.

    Here’s an excerpt from IRIN, the UN’s news service:

    In Goderich [a village outside the capital, Freetown], residents said they were sad to see the Bangladeshi peacekeepers—whom they have nicknamed “the Banglas”—leaving their villages. “I am glad for the peace they brought to the country,” Ibrahim Diallo, a tall young unemployed mechanic told IRIN. “Now we can walk everywhere. During the war, nobody could move where they wanted to.” Over the span of the five year mission, UNAMSIL has disarmed and demobilised over 72,000 combatants and collected and destroyed over 30,000 arms . . ..

    At a special ceremony Goderich villagers gathered to bid farewell to their Bangla friends. Abdoulaye Mohamed Bah, travelled from nearby Toke village where he is the chief Imam, to say his farewells. “They built four classrooms, supplied books at the mosque, every week they came to the village and gave free medical care and supplied food for the children,” Bah told IRIN as he hurried to take his place at the ceremony.

    Read the full article here.


  7. Abdul,

    Thank you for bringing this issue up in your blog. Your kindness and compassion for my country makes you truly a friend of Bangladesh. I wish every American was like you and they could feel for the world as you do.

    For all readers of your blog, please visit: for latest information about Cyclone Sidr and the rescue operation.




  8. wedding,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I still think global climate change plays a role in more extreme weather—hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, typhoons. The combination of poverty, higher sea levels, and poor flood-prevention or rescue infrastructure produce the kind of catastrophic floods we’re now seeing in Bangladesh. I saw one article that said it’s the worst flooding in 10 years. But I could be wrong.

    More importantly, as we saw in New Orleans’ experience with Hurricane Katrina (another climate-change-related mega-storm), most of the dying takes place after the storm is over because of poor sanitation, weak or nonexistent search and rescue infrastructure, and a lack of food, medicine, and other relief and aid necessities. That’s why it’s important to put as many resources on the ground as possible in the early days so everything can be in place BEFORE the massive dying starts.

    Either way, global climate change is a conversation for another day. Right now, let’s just agree that it’s important to send money to victims in Bangladesh. 🙂

    We can discuss climate change another day.


  9. Thanks for the post. I doubt its global warming. Bangladesh is prone to cyclones and every decade is subject to one just as bad, if not worse, as/than this one.


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