Natural Hazards

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 289–304

Why relatively fewer people died? The case of Bangladesh’s Cyclone Sidr

Original Paper

Abstract

Cyclone Sidr, a Category IV storm, struck the southwestern coast of Bangladesh on November 15, 2007 killing 3,406 people. Despite a similar magnitude, Sidr claimed far fewer lives than Cyclone Gorky, also a Category IV storm, which struck Bangladesh in 1991 causing an estimated 140,000 fatalities. The relatively low number of deaths experienced with Sidr is widely considered the result of Bangladesh government’s efforts to provide timely cyclone forecasting and early warnings, and successful evacuation of coastal residents from the projected path of Cyclone Sidr. Using information collected from both primary and secondary sources, this study identified several other reasons for the unexpectedly lower mortality associated with Cyclone Sidr relative to Cyclone Gorky. Fewer casualties may be attributed to a number of physical characteristics of Cyclone Sidr, such as duration of the storm and storm surge, landfall time and site, varied coastal ecology, and coastal embankment. This article recommends improvements to the cyclone warning systems, establishment of more public cyclone shelters, and implementation of an education campaign in coastal areas to increase the utilization of public shelters for future cyclone events.

Keywords

Cyclone Sidr Cyclone Gorky Early warning systems Evacuation orders Coastal Bangladesh The Sundarbans 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

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