South Asia

Published: Sunday 31 August 2008

Loss from Sidr: The economic loss caused by super cyclone Sidr that hit Bangladesh on November 15, 2007, is more than us $ 4.4 billion, reveals a survey conducted by the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh. The cyclone completely destroyed about 4,10,000 hectares of farmland and damaged 12 lakh tonnes of the Aman paddy crop, which accounts for 40 per cent of the country's total rice output. The situation became worse when the Boro paddy crop did not come up with the desired yield in March this year due to reasons such as shortage of seeds, diesel, fertilizer and power-cuts, the report said.

Insecure aid agencies: Over a hundred aid agencies working in southern Afghanistan have said that they may discontinue their operations in the country because of the intensifying conflict. Aid agencies were increasingly becoming targets, they said in a statement. Nineteen aid workers were killed in the first six months of 2008--more than during the whole 2007. The agencies also expressed concern over the rising number of civilian deaths, which they said were caused mainly by insurgents but also by international forces' air strikes. The insurgents are gaining a foothold in areas where they were not so strong before. This, they said, is forcing the closure of a large number of health facilities in the south, hindering the implementation of vital development projects.

Heavy rains hit Nepal: Over 40 people died and 9,000 displaced in floods and landslides caused by heavy monsoon rains in eastern Nepal by the last week of July. Over six dozen villages in Saptari and Sunsari districts were inundated as embankments of 10 rivers, including Khodo, Triyuga and Sapta Koshi collapsed. Heavy rains also triggered landslides in the Bajura district. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the government had dispatched nearly 20,000 sandbags to protect the river embankments but local disaster-relief workers say they are hardly enough to even defend one small village.

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