In response to Cyclone Sidr, a Category 4 system that hit Bangladesh yesterday evening, Direct Relief has reached out to its long-standing network of in-country partners with offers of medical material assistance and released for the emergency $280,000 (wholesale) in material currently en route to partners.
A 20-foot container of medical material aid for the Hope Foundation’s hospital is currently at sea, and an air freight shipment containing 46,000 sachets of oral rehydration solution to SSS recently cleared customs. The materials in both shipments will be redirected to help those affected by the cyclone if needed.
Direct Relief has contacted Hope Foundation’s Hospital for Women and Children in Cox’s Bazar (150km south of Chittagong and Southeast of the Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka), Marie Stopes International’s Clinic in Dhaka, and Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha (SSS), also located in Dhaka, to gauge their needs. All are still assessing the situation, and will report back with specific needs once a clearer picture of the impact emerges.
Based on past experience responding to cyclones, Direct Relief expects that the medical needs of the affected population will be supplies to help treat traumatic injuries, antibiotics to help treat water-borne illness, and antifungal medications for skin infections.
According to Reuters, Cyclone Sidr has caused 587 deaths and thousands of injuries, numbers that are feared to soar higher as response efforts continue. An estimated 3.2 million people have been displaced from their homes.
A cyclone, called a hurricane or typhoon in other world regions, is a low pressure system with high velocity spiraling winds. In the case of Sidr, these winds triggered a 15-foot tidal surge that violently struck populated areas and easily flooded Bangladesh’s low topography.
Direct Relief has had relationships with partners in Bangladesh since 1972. Earlier this year, Direct Relief answered requests for an emergency response to the severe flooding that was triggered by intense monsoons across Southeast Asia.