Cyclone Amphan: Save the Children Statement on Devastation in Bangladesh and India
Mostak Hussain, Humanitarian Director for Save the Children in Bangladesh, said:
“Even by Bangladeshi standards, this was a powerful storm, and our teams are on the ground assessing the situation. We’ve received reports that more than five million people were disconnected from the electricity grid for their own safety as winds of 150 kph [93 mph] smashed into power lines, destroying homes and uprooting trees. In some of the worst-affected areas there was a tidal surge of nearly three meters [9.8 feet], causing dams to overflow and submerging low-lying villages and crops.
“Our biggest responsibility now is making sure that displaced children and their families can return to their homes, while complying with social distancing guidelines to protect people from COVID-19. Save the Children is responding to the needs of the people in the most-affected areas, supporting the Bangladesh government’s relief efforts.”
Bidisha Pillai, CEO of Save the Children India, said:
“The Indian government is doing its best to open up the road networks. Now that the storm has passed, our biggest concern is ensuring vulnerable children and their families have a roof over their head, food to eat, and access to basic healthcare. But the response will undoubtedly be complicated by COVID-19 and the need to ensure that we keep people, including our staff, safe at all times.
“Save the Children’s humanitarian team, along with our partners, has begun assessing the damage after witnessing one of the strongest cyclones to hit India in decades. The picture will become clearer in the coming days—when we will better understand the priorities of families and children affected by the cyclone.
“We are learning that thousands of homes are completely destroyed, tens of thousands of trees have been uprooted, disrupting traffic even in Kolkata, making it hard to reach those who need help. Much of Odisha and West Bengal are still without power so communication with our teams is also a challenge.”
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