January 01, 2005


Many do not know about the two major disasters Bangladesh faced:

Bangladesh Cyclone, November 1970:

The greatest tropical system disaster this century occurred in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in November 1970. Winds coupled with a storm surge killed between 300,000- 500,000 people. Actually there was no proper census or death count at that time. These cyclones usually cause the most misery, loss of life, and suffering in low lying areas in Bangladesh (East Pakistan) and coastal India. The West Pakistan, the central government did not do much in aid and rescue operations so the death toll was high.

Bangladesh Cyclone 02B, April 1991:

Another cyclone struck the Chittagong region in Bangladesh in 1991 killing over 138,000 people and causing damage in excess of 1.5 billion dollars. The tropical cyclone devastated the coastal area southeast of Dacca with winds in excess of 130kts and a 20 foot storm surge.

In TIME Magazine coverage of that tragedy "Cyclone of Death" - James Walsh wrote:

In the twinkling of an eye it ended! None could see

When life was, and when life finished!

Twenty- foot walls of water. Demonic winds of crushing force. The horror left behind: 125,000 lives lost, and still counting. A world used to human-scale catastrophes -- plane crashes, say, that kill a few hundred at most -- cannot absorb the biblical dooms that visit Bangladesh. Straddling the conjoined mouths of the Ganges and Brahmaputra, two of the Indian subcontinent's mightiest rivers, the country is regularly drowned by flood crests surging downstream or scourged by whirlwinds from the sea. Of the 20th century's 10 deadliest storms, seven have devoured their victims at the head of the Bay of Bengal.

There were not much media attention, the people of the world just couldn't respond to the appeals of donations like they are doing now for the tsunami victims aided by technology (online banking, paypal etc.). James & Anita wrote that there must be a better way for the relief efforts. The world is now becoming closer because of technology; just look at the tsunami donation response.

Bangladesh despite of all these blows carried on with little help from others. Its economy is developing. Bangladesh was miraculously saved from the sunday's tsunami waves. Experts said that "the shallow water on the continental shelf of Bangladesh slowed down the onrushing sea surges before they could ravage the country's coastline."

From the updated figures in wikipedia, it is becoming evident the Asian Tsunami disaster will surpass Bangladesh's disasters in becoming the biggest disaster in recent times. And the effected nations can learn from the Bangladeshi people about the tremendous courage they showed to stand up from devastation and start all over again. The world is with them this time and life must go on.


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