Relief Underway in Cyclone-Ravaged Bangladesh

A huge relief operation is underway in Bangladesh for the victims of a massive cyclone that killed more than 3,000 people when it hit last week. At least 1,000 are still missing while a million more are homeless. Rescue workers have yet to reach a large part of the area along the Bay of Bengal where the storm struck.

Kate Conradt, who is the emergency response communications director for the aid group Save the Children, speaks with Renee Montagne.

Sidr Leaves Thousands Dead in Bangladesh

A woman prepares food in front of her destroyed house on the south coast of Bangladesh on Sunday. i i

hide captionA woman prepares food in front of her destroyed house on the south coast of Bangladesh on Sunday.

Farjana Khan Godhuly/AFP/Getty
A woman prepares food in front of her destroyed house on the south coast of Bangladesh on Sunday.

A woman prepares food in front of her destroyed house on the south coast of Bangladesh on Sunday.

Farjana Khan Godhuly/AFP/Getty
Soldiers and relief workers give aid to victims of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh.

hide captionSoldiers and relief workers give aid to victims of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh. The storm killed at least 3,113 and left thousands more homeless.

Farjana Khan Godhul/AFP/Getty
A man inspects his collapsed shop at a market in Gorjonbunia village in Bangladesh on Monday. i i

hide captionA man inspects his collapsed shop at a market in Gorjonbunia village in Bangladesh on Monday.

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty
A man inspects his collapsed shop at a market in Gorjonbunia village in Bangladesh on Monday.

A man inspects his collapsed shop at a market in Gorjonbunia village in Bangladesh on Monday.

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty

Rescue workers in southwestern Bangladesh searched for survivors of Cyclone Sidr on Monday, as the toll of dead and missing climbed to more than 4,100.

At least 3,113 people are known dead and more than 1,000 are missing, said Lt. Col. Main Ullah Chowdhury, an army spokesman.

Sidr swept across the low-lying South Asian nation last Thursday, the worst storm to hit Bangladesh in more than a decade. High winds and rain washed out roads and downed telephone lines, leaving many areas cut off for four days.

In the village of Parulkhel, residents and rescuers used bamboo poles to probe flooded fields, looking for submerged bodies.

Officials with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, a humanitarian organization, warned the death toll could rise to 10,000 when rescuers reach outlying islands.

Government and relief agencies stepped up efforts to get help to devastated areas. Army helicopters flew in high-protein cookies supplied by the World Food Program, said Emamul Haque, a spokesman for the U.N. agency's office in the capital city of Dhaka.

During a meeting with Bangladesh agencies on Monday, international groups promised initial aid totaling $25 million, Haque said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement that several million dollars were available from the United Nations' emergency response funds, depending on the need.

Many foreign governments and international groups also pledged to help.

The United States offered $2.1 million, and two U.S. Marine Corps transport planes arrived in Dhaka with medical supplies, Chowdhury said.

An U.S. military medical team was already in Bangladesh and two U.S. Navy ships — each carrying at least 20 helicopters and tons of supplies — would be made available if the Bangladesh government requested them, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement.

The European Union promised $2.2 million and the British government has vowed to give $5.1 million. Italy's Roman Catholic bishops conference said it would donate $2.9 million. The governments of Germany and France each pledged $730,000, Japan sent $318,000 in relief supplies, and the Philippines said it would provide a medical team.

Bangladesh is a densely populated nation sitting on a vast river delta. Storms batter its low-lying lands every year, often killing large numbers of people. The most deadly recent storm was a tornado that leveled 80 villages in northern Bangladesh in 1996, killing 621 people.

From NPR reports and The Associated Press

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