1991: Tropical storm surge floods Bangladesh


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On April 22, 1991 an area of tropical thunderstorms began to organize in the Bay of Bengal it would grow to become one of the deadliest tropical cyclones ever recorded. The storm hit, one of the most populated areas in Bangladesh. An estimated 200,000 people were killed by the storm, as many as 10 million people lost their homes, and overall property damage was in the billions of dollars. Once the weather system organized it began moving north. By April 24 the storm was designated Tropical Storm 02B, and by April 28 it was a tropical cyclone, or as they are known in the western hemisphere, a hurricane. One day later on April 29 the storm hit, with winds of up to 150 miles per hour. The damage was immediate, as a storm surge as high as 15 feet engulfed the flat, coastal plans of southeastern Bangladesh. The surge washed away entire villages and swamped farms, destroying crops and spreading fears of widespread hunger as well as economic woes. As a result of a storm in 1970, a few storm shelters had been built, but they were not enough. Though in 1991 some were saved by the shelters, many people had doubted warnings of the storm. Since the 1991 storm, the Bangladesh government has built thousands of elevated shelters in coastal areas.

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