May 27, 2024

Cyclone Remal update: Millions stranded and flooded in Bangladesh, thousands of BRAC staff respond

DHAKA, May 27, 2024 – Bangladesh is reeling from the aftermath of Cyclone Remal, which made landfall in Bangladesh at 8:00 PM (local time) on May 26.

Ten people have died so far, and strong winds and heavy rainfall continue. Thousands of people remain trapped in waterlogged coastal areas as a result of breaches in embankments and water entering low-lying areas. The cyclone caused a 5-7 ft tidal surge across 16 coastal districts, with eight districts being severely affected. 36 embankments in Khulna, southern Bangladesh, have been breached, causing severe flooding. An estimated 30,000 homes along the coastal belt have been destroyed, with tens of thousands more damaged. More than 22 million people are without electricity as power transmission lines have been shut and millions are without mobile service after the disruption of 12,000 telecom towers.

“The wind was so strong it felt like it was going to blow everything away,” said Md Lefaz Ali, a BRAC district coordinator in Patuakhali, southern Bangladesh – one of the worst affected districts. “I was scared for my life and the lives of my team members. We stayed up all night evacuating people.”

BRAC teams on the ground

Founded in Bangladesh 52 years ago, BRAC has mobilized thousands of its employees. BRAC staff are supporting communities with emergency food and shelter across the impacted regions:

  • 14,000 BRAC field staff are supporting families in vulnerable conditions
  • 8,000 community health workers and volunteers are supporting families with pregnant and lactating mothers
  • 1,600 people in coastal areas received emergency food support through local government institutions
  • Hundreds of families are sheltering in BRAC’s mini cyclone shelters across five districts
  • Emergency cash support is being distributed to people living in extremely vulnerable conditions

“The winds haven’t stopped, and water is still rising in many places, overwhelming drainage systems and resulting in flooding,” said Dr Md Liakath Ali, Director, Climate Change Program, Urban Development Program, and Disaster Risk Management Program, BRAC. “Many people are stranded – it will be another long night ahead with millions not having electricity or shelter, and people having no idea of how damaged their homes, land, and livestock are. BRAC staff and volunteers are on foot throughout villages, distributing food and water and helping people to move to safe areas. Schools, madrasas, government offices, BRAC offices, and BRAC’s mini cyclone shelters are now serving as shelters in addition to the official shelters. BRAC is particularly focused on ensuring pregnant and lactating mothers and people with disabilities are not left behind.”

The full extent of the damage is still being assessed. The State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief has stated that the armed forces are ready to support relief efforts.

Media notes

Experts, photos and broll available 

  • Dr Liakath Ali
  • Other members of BRAC senior leadership if needed
  • Local teams responding on the ground in affected districts
  • Photos and b-roll available for use so long as copyright is included and images are not used out of situational context:
  • Photo 1: Bhola, southern Bangladesh, 27 May 2024, © BRAC
  • Photo 2: Barguna, southern Bangladesh, 27 May 2024, © BRAC
  • Photo 3: Khulna, southern Bangladesh, 27 May 2024, © BRAC
  • Video 1: Patuakali, southern Bangladesh, 27 May 2024, © BRAC
  • Video 2: Khulna, southern Bangladesh, 27 May 2024, © BRAC
  • Video 3: Khulna, southern Bangladesh, 27 May 2024, © BRAC

About BRAC

BRAC was founded in and has been working in Bangladesh for 52 years. Together with government, civil society organizations, communities and businesses, BRAC teams work with over 100 million people living with inequality and poverty to create opportunities to realize human potential. BRAC operates as a solutions ecosystem, including social development programs, social enterprises, humanitarian response, a bank and a university. Outside of Bangladesh, BRAC works with communities in marginalized situations, hard-to-reach areas and post-disaster settings across Asia and Africa, with a particular focus on women and children.


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