Advance guards of British troops and supplies arrived in Dacca on Friday (20 November) as part of an international effort to bring relief to the flood victims of East Pakistan.
Advance guards of British troops and supplies arrived in Dacca on Friday (20 November) as part of an international effort to bring relief to the flood victims of East Pakistan. The first elements to arrive in the East Pakistan city were flown there by Royal Air Force Hercules transport from bases in Singapore.
The troops brought vehicles with them to help in the massive job of reconnoitring the disaster area for the most effective means of bulk distribution of relief supplies when it arrives by sea from Singapore on Tuesday (24 November)
Helicopters, vital for pinpoint dropping of supplies to flood victims -- a job for which the larger transports are too fast -- have been arriving the same way. By Saturday (21 November), they too, were flying over the island-dotted Bay of Bengal coast hit by the twin disaster of cyclone and tidal wave which struck the region last week.
The airlift from many nations has brought tons of supplies to Dacca, but the problem has been getting the material from the city's warehouses to the disaster-stricken areas. Small boats and helicopters are best suited for the job and it is only recently that they have been brought into use in any number.
The problem has been made more acute by the threat of starvation cholera and typhoid among the millions made homeless by the storm.
The death toll in the Bay of Bengal area is now officially put at 166,000, but relief commissioner Abu Mohammed Anizuzzaman agreed that the toll could run into hundreds of thousands when the final bleak picture emerges.