The death toll from the cyclone which devastated south-western coastal areas of Bangladesh in mid-November is in the thousands, but millions more have been devastated as homes and livelihoods succumbed to storms and floods. As more remote areas and islands are reached, it is anticipated that the number of dead could rise further.
Cyclone Sidr, the most destructive to hit Bangladesh in the last decade, follows only three months after disastrous flooding affected the country. The cyclone demolished houses, crops, farm animals and trees over thousands of square kilometres. Many were killed by trees falling on their houses. Electricity and telephone connections were lost.
Bangladeshi Christians are struggling to reach those in the affected areas. They have a special concern for their fellow-believers at this time, as Christians are an impoverished and vulnerable minority of less than 1%.
Barnabas Fund and Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) are two of several Christian agencies seeking to help. One MAF worker reports: ‘After the cyclone moved further inland, villagers said the water suddenly rushed out of the town back out to sea, pulling thousands of people and hundreds of animals and homes with it. They explained it to me simply by saying it was like pulling the plug on the drain in your bathtub’.