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Cyclone Mahasen weakens but affected communities not out of danger
DHAKA/YANGON: Although Cyclone Mahasen weakened Thursday afternoon into a tropical storm as it passed over coastal Bangladesh and spared Myanmar almost entirely, CARE emergency teams on the ground remain vigilant, and will begin assessing the damage caused on Friday morning.
There have been reports of 18 deaths due to Mahasen in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. In Bangladesh's southern Patuakhali coast, there have been reports of over 500 houses being destroyed, and thousands of people sought shelter after being evacuated ahead of the cyclone.
“Though the damage so far is less than what we feared, we are not out of danger yet. Heavy rains continue and there are risks of land and mudslides; we need to remain vigilant, and continue to monitor the situation. We’ll be assessing the impacted areas immediately after the storm passes to determine a response,” said Alex Maclean, CARE Bangladesh Assistant Country Director.
In Bangladesh, CARE has prepositioned emergency family kits for 20,000 families and food rations for 6,000 families ready for distribution. Emergency family kits include plastic sheeting for shelter, water containers, water purification tablets, soap, cooking pots and utensils.
In neighbouring Myanmar, CARE Country Director Brian Agland said response teams would begin assessing people’s needs in Sittwe and further north in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships.
“Thankfully, Cyclone Mahasen has not turned out to be the major event that was forecast for Myanmar. We will have to wait and see what the assessments reveal, but our teams remain ready to help those who have been hardest hit,” said Agland.
In Myanmar, CARE is ready to distribute emergency family kits and clothing for 20,000 families. CARE is also sending water pumps and other equipment to Rakhine State to assist with pumping out water ponds and clearing debris if required.
CARE has been working in Bangladesh since 1949 and has extensive experience responding to emergencies in both countries. In 2007 CARE responded to Cyclone Sidr, reaching nearly 500,000 people with food, water, sanitation and shelter. CARE has worked in Myanmar since 1995. After 2008’s devastating Cyclone Nargis, CARE Myanmar reached nearly 300,000 survivors with food, shelter, emergency supplies and assistance with recovery.
Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty.
Last year, CARE worked in 84 countries around the world to assist more than 122 million people improve basic health and education, fight hunger, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity, confront climate change, and recover from disasters. To learn more, visit www.care-international.org.
Media Contacts (to arrange interviews with staff on the ground in Bangladesh and Myanmar):
Atlanta: Brian Feagans, CARE USA, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1.404.979.9453, +1.404.457.4644
Geneva: Adel Sarkozi, CARE International, email@example.com, +41 793-580 713
Canberra: Laura Hill, CARE Australia, firstname.lastname@example.org, +61 0419 567 777