A project beneficiary in Satkhira district protects her fodder by securing it with rope and polythene to prevent damage from wind and rain
A project beneficiary in Satkhira district protects her fodder by securing it with rope and polythene to prevent damage from wind and rain

Dhaka, Bangladesh — On May 26, the severe cyclonic storm "Remal" made landfall in the coastal areas of Bangladesh, bringing widespread devastation and challenging the resilience of several communities. The storm was anticipated to cause direct and cascading impacts in project areas of the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES), thus coordinated efforts were made to mitigate the damage.

In partnership with the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), RIMES closely monitored Cyclone Remal's progress, issuing timely alerts and advisories to help reduce its impact. This effort was part of the ECHO-funded project "Strengthening Forecast-based Early Actions in Cyclone Prone Coastal Regions in Bangladesh (STEP)”. The project focuses on implementing forecast-based early actions (FBA) and readiness triggers (forecast-based financing) in the pilot districts of Satkhira, Bagerhat, Patuakhali, and Barguna.

“We strive to ensure that communities are better equipped to withstand the devastating impacts of natural hazards like Cyclone Remal. Through timely alerts from the National Hydromet Service providers, anticipatory measures supported by National Disaster Management Authorities, and by strengthening capacities and collaboration with local and regional partners, we enhance our collective resilience,” remarked RIMES Country Program Lead Raihanul Haque Khan.

Ahead of the cyclone, RIMES activated pre-readiness measures to prepare vulnerable communities. Through voice alerts and advisories, approximately 60,000 households were informed and guided on necessary precautions. These messages were disseminated directly to residents and indirectly through the Upazila Disaster Management Committee (UDMC) and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), including women's groups, volunteers, and youth forums.

As Cyclone Remal's arrival became imminent, a critical meeting was convened with the District Relief and Rehabilitation Officers (DRRO) of Satkhira and Patuakhali, representing the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC). Consistent forecasts of severe rainfall and strong winds led to the declaration of readiness triggers, providing a 48-hour lead time for anticipatory actions.

Under the readiness trigger, the STEP consortium provided financial support of BDT 5,000 to 426 of the most vulnerable households. This cash assistance enabled families to take necessary actions, such as relocating to safer shelters, purchasing fodder for livestock, securing ponds, and stocking up on dry food. These measures were crucial in the districts of Satkhira, Bagerhat, Barguna, and Patuakhali, where lead times ranged from 10 to 12 hours before the cyclone's impact.

Extended Impact and Continued Support

While the southern and southwestern coastal regions bore the brunt of Cyclone Remal, the hilly areas in the southwest faced heightened risks of landslides due to heavy rainfall. During this period, RIMES, in collaboration with BMD, issued six special bulletins, along with potential impact maps, to inform and guide local officials and humanitarian organizations. These updates were posted on the Integrated Forecast Dissemination (INSTANT) portal, ensuring wide dissemination.

Special Bulletin on May 26th as posted in the INSTANT Portal
Special Bulletin on May 26th as posted in the INSTANT Portal

In Cox’s Bazar, RIMES leveraged support from the "Strengthening Last Mile Communication" (SLMC) Project, funded by USAID through UCAR, to deliver crucial rainfall and landslide warnings. These advisories reached households in landslide-prone areas of the project's pilot sites, helping them to take necessary precautions.

The coordinated efforts of RIMES, BMD, and various local and international partners underscore the importance of timely and effective early warning systems in mitigating the impacts of natural disasters. Cyclone Remal's assault on Bangladesh's coast highlights both the vulnerabilities of coastal communities and the critical role of preparedness and early action in saving lives and reducing suffering.

For further updates and information, visit the INSTANT portal at https://instant.rimes.int/ and stay tuned to local advisories. #