On 25 May Cyclone Aila struck the south-west of Bangladesh causing tidal waves that destroyed vast swathes of land and flattened houses. Around 120 people were killed and more than 800 have been injured.
More than three million people in 14 districts have been affected by the disaster. Over 42,000 homes have been completely destroyed and a further 1.9 million damaged. Houses in this region are typically made from thatch and mud and in some areas up to 90 per cent have been swept away.
The cyclone has destroyed thousands of hectares of crops and killed livestock on which people depend for a living, and leading to fears of food shortages. In many places roads have been completely destroyed making access to affected villages very difficult.
Many people took refuge in cyclone shelters as Aila struck, and many are still there. They are suffering from shortages of food, clean water and medical care. The cyclone destroyed water systems and contaminated wells, leaving people without clean drinking water. In many places land is still flooded and the risk of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea as a result of the stagnant water is growing on a daily basis.
Prior to the cyclone striking, Islamic Relief disaster preparedness staff in Patuakhali helped to disseminate information and ensure people sought safety in cyclone shelters.
Islamic Relief is on the ground in the district of Patuakhali and is working through a partner in Noakhali district, carrying out initial needs assessments in affected areas.
According Islamic Relief aid workers immediate needs are for food, clean water, shelter, clothing and healthcare. The provision of psychosocial support for the affected population has also been identified as a priority. To meet immediate needs we are distributing food packages, clean water and kitchen utensils to 4,000 families.