Cyclone Aila hit the south-western coastal belt of Bangladesh, more specifically the Satkhira and Khulna Districts, on 25 May 2009, affecting almost 2.3 million people and immediately killing 325. The tidal surge, which measured 10-13m, inundated the region and washed away huge numbers of houses, livestock, crops and other resources within a very short time.
Aila damaged around 136,690 households and 600km of embankments. Unfortunately, even though a year has already passed since Alia struck, the cyclone-affected areas are still suffering from flooding, waterlogging and other negative consequences due to absent or damaged embankments.
The majority of cyclone-affected people are now living on the remaining embankments in makeshift tents as their homes remain under water. It has been revealed that 96% of the districts' livelihood bases have been destroyed, almost all agricultural land and homestead gardens were flooded and 70% of vegetation was damaged by Aila.
Even though one year has passed, people in the Satkhira and Khulna Districts are still struggling to manage minimum life-sustaining requirements like adequate food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities. Furthermore, women and children are experiencing inhuman situations and their vulnerability is reaching a zenith as many of their male family members, who were the main household earners, have either died or migrated.
The widespread outbreak of disease is now common and medical facilities are still in short supply. Now, many people have to survive on just one meal a day and, reportedly, four people, including a child, died in Koyra due to starvation or food poisoning. A huge number of families have migrated from this region breaking down local social harmony and cohesiveness.
Combined with all these factors, the relief management system is inadequate and corrupt and these inconsistencies are giving rise to another humanitarian disaster. Read the full report from Unnayan Onneshan - The Innovators (see link).