US sends two navy ships to cyclone-hit Bangladesh

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Dhaka, Nov 20 (UNI) The United States will send two naval ships to Bangladesh on November 24 and 27 with helicopters, medical teams and evacuation teams on board to support the on-going relief and rescue operations.

Director of US Foreign Assistance and USAID Administrator, Henrietta Fore, announced it to reporters here today after visiting areas battered by last Thursday's deadly cyclone SIDR.

After 1991 cyclone that claimed nearly lives of 3,00,000 people in the nation's southeastern Chittagong, the US had sent a naval ship with logistic supports for relief and rehabilitation work under the code name ''Operation Sea Angel''.

Ms Fore assured long-term assistance for cyclone-hit people in addition to the emergency aid of 2.1 million dollars.

''So, we are here to help Bangladeshi people. Our desire is to build a strong and long-term partnership with Bangladesh,'' she said.

Ms Fore, who arrived here today for a 24-hour visit said she saw houses and farms damaged, paddy fields destroyed and people leaving their farms and walking into towns searching for food.

''This is a need and it will be a long-term need,'' she said, adding that she had discussions with the Chief Advisor and officials of the Food and Disaster Ministry on emergency and long-term assistance.

The US would look into schemes on education in health, assistance in rural electrification, telecommunication and construction of embankment.

''This time is very challenging for Bangladesh,'' Ms Fore said, adding that 46 per cent people lived on less than 2 dollars a day and ''many of these people had lost everything''.

The USAID Administrator said two US assessment teams were now working here with the Bangladesh government and by the end of this week they should have good assessment of damages caused by cyclone SIDR.

Meanwhile, a C-130 US cargo plane today landed at Zia International Airport with first consignment of relief goods worth 1,61,000 dollars.

The items include 5,000 blankets, 2,520 hygienic kits, 2,500 jerricans, 300 plastic sheets and energy biscuits.

UNI

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