More than 5,000 people died in the cyclone which hit the off-shore islands in the Bay of Bengal, Pakistan, Oct 10.
More than 5,000 people died in the cyclone which hit the off-shore islands in the Bay of Bengal, Pakistan, Oct 10. Ram Goti island was the worst affected, with 3,500 deaths; and two islands in the region were completely washed away by the worst tidal wave in living memory, killing everyone living there.
At great personal risk and by using superb initiative in securing the only sea-plane at Dacca, our cameraman, Prem Prakash, brought back these first pictures from the devastated area.
His own report tells of the utter devastation. "As our tiny sea-plane hovered over the devastated area, it was the most horrible sight of my life. Two islands completely washed away...On one of them there was a small herd of cattle destined to a miserable death. On Ram Goti, as the plane landed, hundreds of survivors rushed to it, thinking it to be a relief plane, which would have been the first to arrive.
"Everywhere homes blown away, not a soul around. The whole island smelled of death. Decomposed bodies were lying among the crops. We walked through hell. A few survivors left the island in panic immediately after the cyclone and perished at sea. Some reached the mainland. There were some coming back to start life all over again."
Sand and soft earth, stirred by the following tidal wave, have covered up the bodies of many of the dead. Everywhere on the island, bamboo huts have been torn up by the gales. It will take a long time for life to return to normal on Ram Goti.
The loss of life on nearby Hatiya island is estimated at nearly 1,000. In other parts of the affected areas, the loss of life was reported to be small. No official estimates of the damage are yet available, and a detailed survey of the havoc caused by the cyclone is currently under way.