The authorities would do well to ensure that people and their belongings are protected
It cannot be denied that the Bangladeshi authorities have done a commendable job of preparing for Cyclone Fani, with more than a million people from coastal regions getting shifted to cyclone shelters, and more on the way.
This was complemented previously by a stellar effort by officers of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, who carried out a widespread awareness campaign throughout the most vulnerable areas, ensuring that locals were aware of the potential threat the cyclone posed.
However, it is unfortunate that, in its journey through Bangladesh, Cyclone Fani has already resulted in the deaths of at least 14 people in eight different districts, with scores of others injured.
The situation has been further exacerbated by the fact that so many people were hesitant to be shifted to safety -- with only 15% of the 234 cyclone shelter’s full 226,000 people capacity being utilized.
It is natural for people to be worried about what they would leave behind: Their belongings, their livestock, their crops, all of which are crucial for them to sustain their livelihoods.
In such a scenario, the authorities would do well to ensure that people and their belongings are protected and that, once the threat of the cyclone is over, provide the assurance that people can find their way back to their rightful homes.
While the cyclone has weakened over the course of the last few hours, the risk are still uncertain.
As such, we must strive to create an environment where people do not feel that they have to risk their lives just to protect their belongings.
By providing people with the support required during and after the cyclone, we can ensure that the damage that may come from this storm, or any other disaster, is minimized.