Friday, November 16

Bangladesh cyclone not up to task, only kills hundreds.

DHAKA, Bangladesh Cyclone Sidr, with sustained winds of at least 131 mph (210 kph), made landfall Thursday night along the western coast of Bangladesh near the border with India, unleashing floodwaters.

Local officials said at least 500 people were killed in the tropical storm. But for some, those estimates aren't good enough.

"Pathetic, really." commented longtime International Federation of Red Cross coordinator Ryan Covington. "We were expected 40 to 50,000 dead. Five hundred and seventy two is just an utter disappointment for us. We stocked 70,000 body bags and now, we just have to haul them back with us. Unfortunately, there will probably be another storm, and we'll just have to cart that shit back here again. Jeez!"

Covington isn't alone in his disdain for this cyclone's poor performance. Cheytana Anjanab concurs with Covington's grim assessment.

"The 24-hour news outlets have practically ignored us this time. What a waste of 572 lives. Imagine if 18,000 or more would have perished. I might have got to meet Soledad O'Brien."

Previous cyclones in this impoverished part of the world were responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. In 1991, a similar cyclone nearly wiped the southern city of Chittagong off the map.

Anjanab chided the cyclone as if it were a child: "Sidr's effort was really lacking. Winds only at 131 mph? C'mon, you've got to try harder than that to raise that death toll."

"The '91 cyclone was very ambitious." Anjanab continued, "it really went out of its way to kill people — 140,000 in all. That's the year I had breakfast with Wolf Blitzer."