well, the cyclone has passed and our guys in teknaf are all doing alright.
the storm didn't hit them overly hard, just bad winds and some rain. tal
camp managed to get through with just some damaged latrines and more mud
than usual. the women and children have been returned from the school they
stayed in overnight, and the team feels pretty good about how it went.
indeed the cyclone hit on the western coast, whereas teknaf is the eastern
end of the coast. it was freaky to look at sat pictures of the storm
though, since it was literally engulfing the entire bay of bengal, and in
fact, was larger than the country itself.
dhaka is good. we had a night of howling winds and lots of rain and things
making noise as they blew around outside. a quick survey of the streets
shows downed branches and some debris, and we've been without power since
early early in the morning.
the area that got hit has an official death toll of 242 right now from AP.
government and responding agencies are concerned the number will rise as
they gain access to areas who have lost communication during the storm.
(but i feel a perverted sense of relief that they are speaking of hundreds,
not hundreds of thousands. and i'm trying to find a way to write this down
that makes it clear that i still consider the loss of life tragic, but i
was so worried it would be so many more people. can that make sense?)
the lower numbers could be due to the fact that according to news releases,
they managed to evacute hundreds of thousands of people from the coastal
areas. there is an entire early warning system and volunteers who go
around with whistles and megaphones and get people to leave. once again, i have
been impressed at how strong this country is in emergency preparedness.
i talked to my mom earlier today when the only reports were of the missing
fisherman who didn't return before the storm. she asked why they wouldn't
have, and the only answer i could think of was desperation, to not lose
income, or their boat, or their nets. a lot of these guys are incredibly
poor, and i was told that people will risk their lives to save their nets
because they fear if they don't, they'll only starve later. and that
thought depresses me beyond belief.
but my depression really has no place here. i'm very lucky. i'm in my
home, and the power just came back on, and i've got clean water and no tree
crashed through my roof and my husband is safe beside me and i'm going to
put on some socks and drink some tea to warm myself up since it 24 degrees
but i honestly feel like my toes are about to freeze off my feet.
perspective. it's a funny thing.