29th April – 1991 Bangladesh Cyclone !!

17 years ago, on 29th April 1991, when one of the most  powerful and devastating  tropical cyclone struck the Chittagong, Bangladesh, I was in Chittagong. I used to live there! I remeber everything about that night. My father used to work in a Shipping Corporation and they always have to track storm to make sure the ships are in safe harbour. Anyway, we were all at home and it was very stormy outside. I remember, for the first time in my life we were all told to sleep in living room instead of our bed rooms. Everybody go together inside that one room, and our parents were makinig sure everythign is properly locked. We used to live in 4th floor. I could not figure why they have to take such precaution when we live in nice developed city on fourth floor. I mean, I could not imagine what worse can happen. Then as night was growing the storm was getting stronger, the wind was very strong, it was impossible to stand in the balcony. We all gathered and prepared to sleep around 1 AM. I remeber that, my parents did not sleep. They wanted make sure everyhtign goes fine, the night was a nightmare and we siblings had no idea about it. We happily went to sleep, I woke up couple of time and saw in the dead deep night some light…dizzling light….later I camt to know that was the light of the hurricane. Anyway, I passed that horrible night mostly sleeping. When I woke up I could not believ my eyes. All the big trees around our house are all washed off. Not a single sign of greean around. Everythign loked wiped off!!! The electricity was down, gas was down, water was down. We had nothign to eat at home for breakfast. We went out, some hotels were trying to cook in fire, without gas. So we tried to buy some food, we also bought some mineral waters for home. I remeber those days were horrible. All news paper distribution were closed. We did not have enought information of what happend. Later we came to know about the devastating affects. The unbelievable impact it had is unimaginable 😦

At least 138,000 people were killed by the storm, with the majority of deaths in the Chittagong area. Most deaths were from drowning, with the highest mortality among children and the elderly. The storm caused an estimated $1.5 billion (US dollar) in damage. (Resource)

For months I remeber seeing relief activities going on for the affected people!! One thing I realized after that was, nothign can be as horrible as illiteracy. The warnings were not ver effective. Many had just a few hours of warning and did not know where to go for shelter. Others who knew about the storm refused to evacuate because they did not believe the storm would be as bad as forecasted. Both the illiteracy and callous of people and official the damage was so unbelievable!! 

I feel very bad for those victims! I hope and pray taht we improve in avoiding those natural disasters to save lives of thousands of people in our country!! 

 

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