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Page last updated at 08:33 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 09:33 UK

Water was 'gushing at immense speed'

Flood victim in Gabura
Many people are without clean water and do not have enough food (All pictures courtesy of EPA)

Oxfam researcher Sandhya Suri was in the Gabura area of south-west Bangladesh when Cyclone Aila struck earlier this week. Here, her eyewitness account shows the devastating human cost of the disaster.

As we approached Gabura we could see a major break in the embankment. It collapsed before the high tide even arrived. The cyclone caused even more destruction, with a tidal surge of between seven and nine feet.

There were multiple breaks. Now the entire Gabura union is under water. At the main embankment, water is gushing at an immense speed, increasing its intensity with the tide.

Hundreds of people are hungry and thirsty. Local shopkeepers are not opening up for fear of looting. Lenin, the chairman of Gabura Union told us that children had not even seen a biscuit since yesterday.

Many are trying to leave, others hang on, resolute on guarding their belongings. For this reason, there are few people in the cyclone shelters. The whole area is water-logged. There are dead domestic animals floating in the water.

Flood victims in Gabura
Over 100 people have been killed in Bangladesh

We were taken by boat to near the shelter where 13 corpses were laid out: eight children, the rest women. A man was still searching for his six-month-old child's body, washed from his lap during the cyclone. They were still searching for many other dead bodies.

As high tide approached we saw many more people with their belongings on boats leaving the place, stating that the water level will go up by another two feet at least and there is no way they can stay here.

Another corpse of a man was discovered. His body, along with the 13 mentioned before, was brought across the river to Bangshipur for a funeral.

The army is now in the area and some water is coming in for people to drink. An Oxfam team will soon be arriving to assess what more can be done to bring crucial help to the community.




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