It appears that early warning and evacuation were effective in coastal Bangladesh. With so much attention focused on tsunamis, it is important not to neglect this very real hazard.
PS: Now with reports coming in that deaths will exceed 1000, judgment on the efficacy of warning and evacuation will have to be reserved. While one death is one too many, we must remember that 300000-500000 died in the 1970 Bhola cyclone which hit, the coast on November 12th. The fact that casualties will be be counted in the 1000s and not 100,000s is progress. More needs to be done, underlining the importance of the continuing work to improve early warning and preparedness.
A cyclone that slammed into Bangladesh’s coast with 150 mph winds killed at least 242 people, leveled homes and forced the evacuation of 650,000 villagers before heading inland and losing strength Friday, officials said.Cyclone Sidr roared across the country’s southwestern coast late Thursday with driving rain and high waves. The storm left about 242 villagers, most of them from falling debris, said Nahid Sultana, an official at a cyclone control room in Dhaka.
By early Friday, the cyclone had weakened into a tropical storm and was moving across the country to the northeast. The department said that while skiles remained overcast, wind speed had fallen to 37 mph.
Storm surges nearly 4 feet high inundated low-lying areas and some offshore islands in the 15 coastal districts in the cyclone’s path. Communications with remote forest areas and offshore islands were temporarily lost.
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