Early warning signal saves lives during cyclone ‘Mora’

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Abdus Sukur helped disseminate early warning messages urging villagers to seek refuge at cyclone shelters

When the highest warning signal was raised for the approaching cyclone Mora, the local government and volunteers of the Cyclone Preparedness Programme decided to evacuate people at risk to safer places including cyclone shelters and raised buildings. Abdus Sukur played a substantive role as a community leader during the procedure. He is Chairman of Friendship’s Disaster Management Committee (FDMC). Abdus began disseminating early warning messages throughout the island of Kutubdia even before the wind picked up. He wanted to ensure that all potential victims of the approaching cyclone were given sufficient warning so they could move to safety.

Abdus Sukur and his family evacuate their homes ahead of cyclone Mora

In the dark of night, Abdus knocked door-to-door urging villagers to take to the shelters because the cyclone was due to hit as soon as midnight. Many were reluctant to leave their homes behind. By morning the wind speed had picking up and there was heavy rain. Again Abdus went knocking but one stubborn father in particular was not interested in moving to the shelter. After a heated discussion, he successfully convinced the father to leave his home for sake of his child. Given the urgency, Abdus picked up the man’s child in his arms and headed towards the shelter, followed swiftly by the father and his wife. Thankfully the families who took to the shelters were kept safe from the deadly effect of cyclone MORA.

On 30th May 2017, the tropical storm hit the south-east of Bangladesh killing many and destroying thousands of homes with wind speeds of up to 128 mph. The cyclone lashed out at around 6am and continued until noon. Friendship played a key role in disseminating warning messages before the cyclone hit as well as monitoring the desalination process to ensure villages quickly regained access to clean drinking water. Approximately 15,000 people whose homes were destroyed by Cyclone Mora were successfully moved to shelters with the help of Friendship.