Impact of Cyclone AILA

International Flood Network secretariat/
Infrastructure Development Institute-Japan
June 24, 2009

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1. Summary


25 May 2009

[Disaster Type]

Cyclone induced storm surge, flood, gale

[Damaged Area]

Coastal area of Bangladesh, West-Bengal of India


Over 210 


Over 800


(detailed information not available, several millions allegedly were affected and 500,000 lost home)

[Ammount of Damages]

(detailed information not available)

[Damage on Structures]

Several rivers bursted their banks at over 10 points.
Farm lands and fishery equipments were devastated (Rices were just ready to be harvested) .
Road network was destroyed.
Heavily affected areas were without electricity for more than 24 hours.
Communications and water supply system became defective.
Over 3,000 thatched houses in West Bengal were collapsed and a lot of trees were uprooted.

[Other damages]

Over 58,450 domestic animals were killed.
One of world's largest tiger reserve in the manglove forests of Sundarbans was severely inundated and a lot of tigers should have died.

2. Genesis Phenomenon 

[Cyclone Category]

Category 1 (SSHS, at the time of landing)

[Highest Wind]

120km/h (75mph)

[Lowest Pressure]

974 hPa (mbar)


270mm (Total amount at Darjeeling, India)

[Storm Surge Height]



It formed in transient of the pre-monsoon season (Mar.-May) and the monsoon rainy season(Jun.-Sep.). This was the largest cyclone spawned in this year so far.

3.  Comparison with similar disasters

Wind Speed Category
at landing
Damage Outline
"Sidr" , Nov. 2007 Category 4 About 3,500 fatalities in Bangladesh, maximum storm surge height was about 5m.
"Nargis", May 2008 Category 4 About 138,000 fatalities in Myanmar.
"Aila", May 2009 Category 1 Over 210 fatalities in Bangladesh and India.

4. Remarkables 


Cyclone 'Aila' swept areas still recovering from the cyclone 'Sidr' in November 2007 (About 3,500 were killed in Bangladesh and at least one million homeless). That led to a delay in recovery.


Cyclone 'Aila' was not so strong as the cyclone 'Sidr' in 2007, the damages caused by its storm was relatively moderate. However, a high tide and a new moon spurred Aila to whip up surges higher than normal and it repeatedly inundated the area. The inundated water retained for several days and caused a prolonged recovery. 


There are opinions that banks and roads were not repaired after 'Sidr' lashed and damaged them, despite financial supports from donor countries and  international communities were provided.


Bangladeshi authority reportedly evacuated 500,000 inhabitants to the shelters. Utilization of the flood shelters should have reduced the fatalities.


Some scientists predict that storm would become more frequent and more damaging due to climate change, as having seen a cyclone of Aila's magnitude so soon after 'Nargis' devastated Myanmar last year.

5. Recommendations for the future


Rehabilitation/development and sustainable maintenance/operation of disaster prevention facilities (especially banks and drain facilities)


Promotion of disaster preventivion education


Effective disaster forecasts and warnings, community-based disaster prevention schemes and local action rules for residents especially to evacuate to shelters.


Accumulation of disaster information (In need for monitoring the influence of global warming)


<References cited>

1) http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWFiles2009.nsf/FilesByRWDocUnidFilename/SNA A-7SN4KL-full_report.pdf/$File/full_report.pdf
2) http://abcnews.go.cpm/print?id=7680410
3) http://www.ifrc.org/docs/appeals/rpts09/BDcy28050902.pdf
4) http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/SODA-7SHMUB?OpenDocument
5) http://abcnews.go.cpm/print?id=7674050
6) http://www.searo.who.int/LinkFiles/EHA_Cyclone_Aila_260509SR1.pdf

7) http://abcnews.go.cpm/print?id=7674664

8) http://www.shaplaneer.org/fujiokablog/2009/05/aila-1.html

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