Kampala (Uganda), Nov 22: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee held talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury in Uganda on Wednesday, as New Delhi pledged to provide relief for cyclone-hit country. India has already pledged 40 million rupees to Bangladesh as relief. The first consignment of 40 tonnes of relief material including tents, blankets, ready-to-eat food packets and medicines is expected to be dispatched today by an Indian Air Force plane.
Emergency aid continued to pour in from all over the world in Bangladesh, with the latest being 250 million dollars offered by the World Bank. It was the single largest aid offer after the King of Saudi Arabia pledged 100 million dollars.
Bangladesh has also received aid offers totalling 90 million dollars from other countries and agencies.
Washington has pledged 2.1 million US dollars in emergency aid and the United States has already sent two C-130 transport aircraft, while two U.S. naval vessels were on the way to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh army officials said they were sorting out operational details for U.S. planes, which arrived with 35 tonnes of hygiene kits, blankets and other supplies from the United States late on Sunday.
Relief operators in the affected districts said supplies were still inadequate.
According to foresters, the 6,000-sq km Bangladesh portion of the world heritage Sundarbans mangrove forests, home to more than 400 Royal Bengal tigers, was devastated.
With a wind speed of up to 240 kph, the cyclone roared in from the Bay of Bengal just before dusk on Thursday, killing over a thousand and damaging homes and crops.
Southern Bangladesh is often hit by cyclones, but experts say the latest is a category four storm, the most powerful so far in the season.
Close to five lakh people died in 1970 when a cyclone hit the country. A similar storm claimed 143,000 lives in 1991.