|Sundarbans devastated by Cyclone Aila
26 May, 2009
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
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.