World Vision, Oxfam, Save the Children and the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies are among the agencies that are providing relief to Bangladeshis affected by Cyclone Sidr, a powerful Category 4 storm that made landfall yesterday, killing at least 2,400 -- but as many as 15,000 -- and affecting hundreds of thousands, if not millions, others.
The estimates for number of homes destroyed ranges from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands. Some remote parts of the affected area have yet to be reached by aid workers.
Famine and disease are a growing concern; not only were vast stretches of farmland wiped out, but now clean water is hard to come by.
"The scale of the devastation is enormous. It is very hard to get to some areas due to fallen trees," said Vince Edwards, World Vision's national director in Bangladesh. "There is need wherever we look."
World Vision helped house 20,000 families in shelters ahead of the storm, and is appealing for $2.1 million in donations. The money will go toward tin sheeting for 9,375 families that have lost their homes, and to food and relief for 100,000 people.
World Vision describes itself as a "Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice."
Information about donating specifically to aid Bangladesh cyclone victims is available on the World Vision Web site. People can also donate by calling 1-888-562-4453 (888-56-CHILD) and donating with the "giving code" of Bangladesh Cyclone Relief.
A $100 donation would cover the needs of one family, according to World Vision.
"The need will be sizable," World Vision's Rachel Wolff said. "In these low-lying areas, where we've started responding with food ... 60-70% of homes have been destroyed."
International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies
The societies have mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers and donated more than $200,000 to relief efforts so far, and it plans a sustained response.
"Even as the tally of the number of victims of Cyclone Sidr continues to rise following early assessment reports by various agencies, it is also becoming obvious that the scale of its devastation is much more than just what these figures reveal," reads the IFRC Web site. "In fact the figures may not tell the whole picture for days to come, since there is a continuing breakdown of telecommunication and transportation links."
To donate, visit the IFRC Web site
Save The Children
Save The Children also began its response to the disaster before it happened, working with local and international response agencies. To learn more or donate, go to the Save the Children Web site.
Oxfam is focusing, initially, on helping meet the basic needs of food, water, shelter, and sanitation for 80,000 people. To learn more or donate, visit the Oxfam Web site.
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