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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A storm in Bay of Bengal

I first noticed this news, that has not received worldwide attention, from this brief Reuters report by Liz Kennedy:
Sep 23 - More than 100 Bangladeshi fishermen are missing after a storm in the Bay of Bengal.

Fishermen who managed to return to port reported seeing more than a dozen boats sink during the storm.

Low-lying Bangladesh is frequently hit by cyclones and monsoonal floods.
And then some further details here:
Bangladesh's meteorological department said in a special weather bulletin that the monsoonal deep depression, which hit the Bay of Bengal on Thursday (September 20) night, was moving north-north-west and had reached India's eastern coastal state of Orissa.

The latest bulletin said the monsoonal low had crossed the Indian coast near Paradeep on Sunday and the weather system was now over Orissa and adjoining areas.

It said squally weather might affect the ports of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Mongla.

Flooding was reported in Orissa and the neighbouring state of West Bengal, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people living in low-lying areas, including in the city of Kolkata.

Heavy seas were preventing rescue operations, but authorities said they would start a search as soon as the stormy weather subsided.

Surviving fishermen said they saw several boats sink. In Cox's Bazar, about 10 fishing boats with nearly 100 fishermen capsized. About 80 fishermen made it back to shore.

Officials also warned of flooding, with low-lying areas of several coastal districts, including Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and their offshore islands, likely to be inundated by water surges up to 4 feet (1.2 metres) high, driven by high winds.

Hundreds of Bangladeshi fishermen die and many go missing in storms in the Bay of Bengal every year.
A loss of 100 fishermen is certainly shocking, but two days later the number doubled in this local report as:
Around 200 fishermen on 15 fishing boats that went down in the turbulent Bay of Bengal last Thursday are still missing. Rough weather has made rescue efforts impossible and loading and unloading of goods the country's southwestern Mongla Port remain suspended for two days due to bad weather.
Luckily, another later news from Indo-Asian News Service on September 25th, entitled "700 Bangladesh fisherman take shelter in India" may provide some hope that those missing fishermen are just missing, may be sheltered somewhere, but not lost. Let's hope and pray that all of them can eventually be rescued and return to their love ones!

It has been said that the job of Alaska fishermen is known as the "most dangerous job in the world." I think fishermen's life anywhere in the world should all be considered as dangerous. They are all at the mercy of the nature that conducts all the uncontrollable storms. Most of us have been taught to remember and respect the hard-working farmers that brought us the food we eat when we were young. For us sea-food lovers, however, we certainly should also never forget the dangers the fishermen face everyday in order to bring us our culinarily favorites.

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