Tragedy In Bangladesh

The news coming out of Bangladesh is minimal tonight. The AP reports ‘at least’ 41 people dead from Cyclone Sidr, which came ashore Thursday.

That number will surely rise after this powerful storm hit one of the world’s most susceptible points.

Around 20 years ago, I was invited to Western Connecticut State University by Dr. Mel Goldstein to listen to Dr. Bob Sheets, former director of the National Hurricane Center.

Sheets talked about the potential for tragedy in Bangladesh… the futility of knowing a storm was coming, but there was nothing to do and nowhere to go.

The Ganges River Delta, where Bangladesh meets the Bay of Bengal, is low lying land. Storm tides easily wash well inland and up the river toward Dhaka, a city of 6,500,000.

This is a country of poor people, living in mainly flimsily constructed homes and shacks. Many people live directly on the water.

Sheets said one of the things done was build earthen berms, allowing people to rise above incoming water. It was low tech and not totally effective, but it was better than nothing.

Today’s solutions seem similar: