Over 200 Dead in Bangladesh Tropical Cyclone; Cat 4 Storm Says RMS

November 16, 2007

Reports are coming in from Southern Bangladesh of at least 242 deaths following the passage of a powerful tropical cyclone. Risk Management Solutions has been monitoring the progress of the storm, named Sidr, and indicates that it is the equivalent of a “category 4 storm on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale [winds of 240kph (150mph)], generating significant storm surge.”

The Bay of Bengal, where Sidr came ashore “is particularly prone to storm surge and past cyclones have caused some of the greatest natural disaster death tolls in history,” RMS warned. “In April 1991, a cyclone the equivalent of a strong category 4 storm made landfall close to Chittagong creating surge of up to 6 meters and causing nearly 150,000 deaths and economic losses of over 2 billion dollars in today’s values.”

Domenico del Re, senior model manager at RMS, explained: “If the surge from Sidr, which could be as high as 7 meters [over 21 feet], affected Chittagong, our calculation shows some 2 million people will be impacted. Although better forecasting techniques and preparedness will hopefully result in fewer casualties compared to past storms, the surge will wreak considerable physical damage and destruction to the economy.”

Several hundred thousand people were evacuated in the path of the storm. Authorities fear the death toll could rise significantly, when rescue teams are able to reach stricken areas. Sidr had already begun to weaken as it approached Dhaka, the Capital of Bangladesh, but it is still packing strong winds and heavy rains.

Source: News reports and RMS – www.rms.com

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