Tidal surge risk as Cyclone Bulbul nears India and Bangladesh – Oxfam prepares to respond

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Oxfam is preparing for a potential response to flooding and landslides as Cyclone Bulbul nears the coasts of India and Bangladesh.

The powerful storm forming over the Bay of Bengal is currently expected to make landfall tonight (local time) bringing high winds, intense rainfall and a tidal surge.

It is expected that the west coasts of Bangladesh and West Bengal in India will be hardest hit by the cyclone.

Although Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, southern Bangladesh, are not likely to receive the brunt of the cyclone’s force, flooding and strong winds are still expected to have an impact.

Vincent Koch, Oxfam’s humanitarian lead, said: “Oxfam is monitoring the situation and stands ready to respond. We are concerned that storm damage will cause flooding and landslides. The floodwaters can be quickly contaminated with waste, which can make people sick.

“In the event of floods forcing people from their homes, our emergency teams will prioritise helping the most vulnerable people to get the support they need as quickly as possible.

“The Governments of Bangladesh and India are extremely skilled at managing emergency responses and we are closely following their directions to support both refugees and local communities.”

Oxfam’s emergency cyclone response in India and north Bangladesh would include providing safe water through water trucking and basic household items such as soap. After assessing needs we would consider how best to respond, for example through cash transfers so people can buy food, or distributing dry food if local markets are too damaged to have supplies.

Cox’s Bazar is home to the world’s largest refugee camp where more than 900,000 refugees live in fragile homes built from bamboo and tarpaulin. It is also the poorest district in Bangladesh and local people would also be vulnerable to storm damage.


Notes to editors:

In Bangladesh, the locations which may be affected by Cyclone Bulbul are Satkhira, Khulna and Bagerhat districts in the Khulna division, and Barisal, Barguna, Patuakhali, and Bhola districts in the Barisal division, as well as Cox’s Bazar district in the Chittagong division.

Cyclone season in Bangladesh is in April and May, and again in October and November, with a monsoon season of heavy rain in between.

Oxfam and its partners are providing vital aid including clean water and food to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. You can donate to Oxfam’s Rohingya Crisis appeal here: https://oxf.am/rohingya-crisis-appeal

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