Bangladesh (MNN) — Yesterday, Cyclone Amphan made landfall in West Bengal, India, near the border of Bangladesh. The storm originated in the Bay of Bengal and was the strongest storm ever recorded in those waters.
Before making landfall, the storm dissipated slightly to the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane. The storm first landed at the Sundarbans, a forest reserve that sits on the border of India and Bangladesh and is home to 96 protected tigers.
With 165 mph winds and 16-foot waves at landfall, Amphan damaged many old and poorly constructed buildings.
Social distancing measures prompted by COVID-19 have made evacuations very difficult. Peter Mazumder with Asian Access says of Bangladesh, “More than one and a half million people are in the cyclone center now and they are in a safe place. But at the same time, they are a little bit scared about going to the cyclone center because of the coronavirus [social distancing].”
Mazumder describes the already bad situation in Bangladesh due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “The coronavirus situation is now day by day. Our infected people are increasing every day, almost doubling. The death rate is increasing because the social distance is not being maintained.” He says travel for religious festivals has caused some of the spread.
How Asian Access is helping
The damage done by the storm means many people will find themselves in need of aid. Mazumder points out that Asian Access already had been working in the region, providing supplies for COVID-19. “We just distributed food and hygiene during the lockdown period. When they came to know about this cyclone, they immediately contacted me to get the real picture. We are a very good global family.”
Mazumder asks Christians to pray for Bangladesh and India as COVID-19 clashes with a cyclone. Pray especially for Asian Access workers as they try to minister in the middle of two catastrophes. “Please pray that God may protect them, in spite of this difficult situation, and that they may be able to see God’s hand in their lives. We need your prayer.”
Amphan near its peak on May 18. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)