United Nations, Nov 28:The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will send a mission of experts next week to Bangladesh to assess how to help authorities protect the country"s heritage in the wake of this month"s devastating cyclone.
The experts will focus particularly on the Sundarbans mangrove forest, which was inscribed on UNESCO"s World Heritage List in 1997, the agency said in a statement issued in Paris, headquarter of UNESCO.
The 140,000-hectare forest is home to many endangered species, including the Bengal tiger. Copies of the statement were made available yesterday at UN headquarters here in New York.
Large swathes of the Sundarbans, situated in the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal are feared to have been swept into the sea by Cyclone Sidr, which struck Bangladesh on November 15.
Thousands were reported killed or missing as a result of the Cyclone, while tens of thousands people were injured. The category 4 storm also destroyed or severely damaged infrastructure , including at least 1,300 schools , across the country.
More than 7,500 other schools and educational institutions were partly damaged, according to the data, and at least 1.8 million acres of crops were ruined and over 500,000 livestock were killed.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that an estimated 2.6 million people still needed immediate life-saving assistance such as food, shelter and sanitation.
UN relief agencies, which are providing assistance with the help of national authorities and non-governmental organisations, are using the grant of 14.7 million US dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund.