Cyclone Sidr surprised meteorologists by speeding up and strengthening as it slammed into Bangladesh's low-lying southern coast late Thursday. Making landfall at a category four, there have been 3,114 deaths (so far), with thousands missing and ~280,000 waiting to return home. [video]
Meteorologist Kevin Corriveau said the storm sped up as it approached shore and reached land before forecasters had predicted it would. As it crossed over onto land, it began to weaken but still brought torrential rainfall and floods to the low-lying area. -snip The U.S. Embassy in Delhi has issued a statement to Americans in the region, warning of "heavy rains, flooding, strong winds, damage to buildings, and other life-threatening conditions." Source.
Local officials and Red Crescent workers said at least 328 deaths have already been confirmed while hundreds more were injured or missing following the cyclone, which struck overnight packing winds of 250 kph (155 mph).World Vision, the Red Cross, Save the Children and the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society are asking for donations as they work to find shelter for the homeless and to assess the actual and impending damage. They face a daunting task to reach remote areas cut off by downed trees and flooded waterways and the ever increasing threat of starvation and disease. The Bangladesh Air Force has been dropping some supplies. That should increase when two U.S. warships arrive with forty helicopters between them. But it is the relief agencies (the NGOs above) that will be providing assistance for the long term.
"The death count is rising fast as we get more information from the affected districts," an official at the food and disaster ministry said. Source.
As Bangladesh is a low-lying country in the path of increasing storms, given this warning by the IPCC regarding climate change, it is an unfortunate, albeit safe, assessment that their effort will have to be an ongoing.