Preparation and relief efforts for Cyclone Mahasen

May 16, 2013 by

_MG_8758Photo copyright: BRAC/Ferdous Uddin Ahmad.

Cyclone Mahasen hit Bangladesh coastal areas on May 16. A combined effort by different BRAC programmes, including Disaster, Environment & Climate Change (DECC), mobilised precautions and has begun relief and rebuilding efforts.

The following contains the latest updates:

As of 16 May, 5 PM (Bangladesh time, GMT/UTC+6):

Cyclone Mahasen crossed the Noakhali-Chittagong coastline at Sitakunda on Thursday (16 May) afternoon slightly weaker than anticipated. According to local media, six people are believed to have died in Patuakhali, Barguna and Bhola from heart attacks and collapsing trees. Heavy rainfall and strong winds continue. BRAC teams in the affected areas will begin conducting an impact assessment.

Standard operation procedures (SOP), established by DECC, are being followed to maximise the efficiency and resources of all necessary actions taken during different phases of this natural disaster.

What we’re doing:

Emergency team meetings are being held at field offices and head office. BRAC’s ICT department is sending group SMSs to the District BRAC Representatives (DBR) of coastal districts with information on the situation.

A situation room was activated in Dhaka’s head office to coordinate a prompt response. Constant updates are being exchanged and managed from field offices and different international and national weather modelling sources.

DBRs of coastal districts – mainly Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, greater Barisal, Greater Noakhali, Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar (as well as Comilla and Jessore which are on standby) – had an urgent Disaster Preparedness Committee (DPC) meeting to review the preparedness plan for the coming cyclone. They shared their meetings’ summaries with head office and BRAC’s Integrated Collaboration & Rapid Emergency Support Services (iCRESS).

DBRs formed the Incident Command System (ICS) according to BRAC’s standard operating procedures. They compiled resource maps, inventories, and lists of necessary emergency materials. They are so disseminating information on protocols to the public, and identifying possible retail vendors that can help with needed supplies.

District administrations in areas such as Chittagong, Bagerhat, Cox’s Bazar, Barisal and Khulna conducted consecutive emergency meetings to assess the situation. DBRs assured BRAC’s help where possible.

– Other risk prone areas such as Laxmipur and Noakhali are also taking necessary precautions, following BRAC’s SOP.

BRAC closed its schools in vulnerable areas from 15 May. They also ensured all government and BRAC cyclone shelters are open and properly prepared. BRAC is providing meals for evacuated community members at cyclone shelters as and where necessary.

The extended BRAC family in vulnerable areas are being advised to carry out their roles as first responders alongside BRAC staff. This includes Polli Shomaj members, community health workers, village organisation members, Village WASH members, BRAC school teachers and adolescent leaders.

Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), Heath, Nutrition and Population Programme (HNPP) and DECC teams are ready to provide support as first responders if an emergency situation arises.


Relevant contact details

Media spokesperson from BRAC:
Dr Babar Kabir
Senior Director, Disaster, Environment & Climate Change
Email: Ph: +8801714091383


For Bangladesh Media:
Mahbubul Alam Kabir
Sr. Media Manager, Communications
email:; Ph: +8801711404561


For International Media:
Tasfiyah Jalil
Manager, Communications
Email:; Ph: +8801730351398

(For International Media from May 21st)
Himadri Ahsan
Deputy Manager, Communications
BRAC Ph: +8801728775331