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Sundarbans devastated by Cyclone Aila

26 May, 2009


The situation in the Sundarbans, after cyclone Aila hit the area yesterday, is desperate. The cyclone left more than 24,000 people homeless, with villages flooded with saline water, and houses and boats destroyed. Most of the people are now huddled on the embankments and on top of the few permanent constructions. WPSI's tiger conservation centre on Bali Island is flooded but still intact. About 5,000 villagers from Bali village are now marooned on the first floor and roof of the nearby school, with no drinking water or food.

We managed to get the WPSI boat 'Baghini' back in the water this morning. It was one of the first undamaged boats to operate again in the Sunderbans, and our team - led by WPSI's field officer Anil Mistry - left immediately to help with the rescue of a tigress that had entered a house in Jamespur, in Gosaba block. The area was flooded and after the tigress had been tranquilised, it had to be transported in a small boat before loading onto the Forest Department launch. The operation was conducted by the Forest Department under the able leadership of the Field Director, Mr Subrat Mukherjee, and went very smoothly. The tigress will be released as soon as possible.  In addition, deer have been rescued from Bali and Chhotomollakhali.

A vehicle left Kolkata today for Bali with medicines, bleaching powder and other provisions, courtesy of Samarpan, Help Tourism and Great Eastern Hotel. WPSI's Honorary Director, Col. Shakti Banerjee, is coordinating rescue efforts from Kolkata and he is in constant touch with the Government of West Bengal, to arrange helicopter sorties to drop rations in the worst affected areas.

The Wildlife Conservation Trust and Hemendra Kothari Foundation have generously given funds for WPSI's immediate rescue work in the Sundarbans. Please contact us if you would like to help support the rescue efforts.


 

 

 

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