Amphan, the most powerful cyclone to hit Bangladesh this year with wind speeds of 100 miles per hour (160 kph), made landfall on May 20, 2020, along the city’s coastal and southwestern districts. Thousands of houses were destroyed, poultry farms were devastated, thousands of trees uprooted, roads were left nearly impassable, and countless shelters were lost.
Hundreds of villages were inundated. Additionally, tidal surges battered areas in Barguna, Bhola, Barishal, and Laxmipur, reports the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)’s emergency response team in Bangladesh.
According to the official estimate, 10 people lost their lives, said state minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman.
People were forced to live under the open sky, living in fear. For Bilkis Begum, the reality of the cyclone hit her family hardest when she lost her home for the third time.
“I lost my house for the first time in a cyclone. I lost my house for the second time in a tornado. Now, I’ve lost my house due to Cyclone Amphan. I’m such a helpless woman that I’ve lost my house for the third time. There’s no one to look after me. No one can stay beside me and help me to live a normal life. I’m very helpless,” Begum said. She also lost her father, who was the breadwinner of the home, and now struggles to make ends meet as she and her children find shelter at a nearby riverbank.
In Bangladesh, ADRA had been working tirelessly to help evacuate and place people in shelters to ensure the safety of the vulnerable community before the cyclone made landfall. ADRA was also circulating early-warning messages to the community and called beneficiaries frequently to ensure their needs were being met.
The Adventist humanitarian arm reported that people in the Khulna district were experiencing power cuts and disruption of mobile networks since the cyclone made landfall. Now, those most affected in the community depend on donated food, water, and shelter to survive. ADRA is working closely with the local government and various other organizations to provide ongoing aid relief.
“ADRA has been supporting people in the Khulna district for over 15 years and has become an integral part of the society, so when a natural disaster hits and impacts the community, we are all impacted,” said ADRA Bangladesh director Vitalie Zegera. “After the cyclone, ADRA did a rapid needs assessment to find out what the people need most. Many underserved families have been hit twice, first by the coronavirus and now by Cyclone Amphan. ADRA has been very active in this situation, and the staff has helped affected people find temporary shelter and provided hot meals.”
Zegera said also that ADRA continues to support the affected population.
“[We are distributing] food packages and … working to provide shelter and infrastructure repair, in addition to non-food items and hygiene kits,” he said.