Disaster Area – Day 1: The Drive In

“Why are they waving at the car?” I naively asked the driver who was taking me to basecamp in Bagarat. “Their homes have been destroyed – they are asking us to stop and help,” the driver somberly replied. It was then that it sank in – I was in a disaster area. The tipping point for me – the point when shock turned to tears, was when we drove by a school. The school kids yelled – in English – “STOP! STOP! STOP!”. But we just kept driving – even if we could have helped them, we would have been mobbed if we stopped.

I also never expected to have trouble taking photographs. For the first time, I was no longer greeted with inquisitive and happy looks. I was snarled at – one person even hissed. “Don’t take my photo!” one yelled. “Don’t take photos – give us something instead!”, “You only come to take photos – not to help”….

Here are some of the few photos I managed to take today – after the jump.Collapsed Building on the Road to Bagarat

This is the first real photo I was able to take of a collapsed building. Buildings like this weren’t hard to find – there is nothing here but fallen trees and collapsed buildings. Its easier to count the buildings that HAVEN’T collapsed (yet) than to count the ones that have.

Truck Falls into the Ditch on the Road to Bagarat

The road to basecamp was a small narrow road. Anything you wanted to make way or overtake someone – you basically had to risk life and limb and drive in a very angular ditch. I was worried we’d be stuck. We didn’t get stuck – but as you can see above, some weren’t so lucky.

Leaves Blown Off Trees

The wind had just knocked the leaves off all the trees. To compare what a road like this should look like, compare it with the photo I took in Modhipur a couple of months or so ago:

Kid in Newly Built Slum

The residents who used to have homes and are now homeless have made makeshifts slum housing on the side of the road. I tried to take more photos on the way in – but was hissed and heckled at for not doing anything more.

Destruction… was everywhere…

Building Collapses into River

Trees Collapsed Damage to Storefronts due to Cyclone Sidr

Collapsed Power Lines

(Disclaimer: Tagging along with Global Medic and Muslim Aid in no way implies support or endorsement of The Uncultured Project, me, or my views. The views expressed are my own and do not reflect Global Medic, The David McAntony Gibson Foundation, Muslim Aid, or any other NGO or charity. I am not under the employment or contract of any of these organizations.)

  • Sameena

    It must have been very hard to see all these destructions and suffering. You have a lot of courage.

  • Sameena

    It must have been very hard to see all these destructions and suffering. You have a lot of courage.

  • http://atunu.blogspot.com Naser

    Those are some horrid, horrid sights. Its strange to see a foreigner braving the destruction and mayhem in the south just to document it in his blog :) Even our politicians are busy catalyzing this moment of opportunity for some sentimental propaganda. Kudos to you

    PS: Hey, I’m a graduate of Notredame College, Dhaka, Bangladesh too. Great to find another ND alumni here.

  • http://atunu.blogspot.com Naser

    Those are some horrid, horrid sights. Its strange to see a foreigner braving the destruction and mayhem in the south just to document it in his blog :) Even our politicians are busy catalyzing this moment of opportunity for some sentimental propaganda. Kudos to you

    PS: Hey, I’m a graduate of Notredame College, Dhaka, Bangladesh too. Great to find another ND alumni here.

  • http://uncultured.com Shawn

    Hey Naser,

    Thanks for the complement. :)

    I’m a former student at the American Notre Dame College (University of Notre Dame). My dad, however, is an alum of NDC Dhaka :-)

  • http://uncultured.com Shawn

    Hey Naser,

    Thanks for the complement. :)

    I’m a former student at the American Notre Dame College (University of Notre Dame). My dad, however, is an alum of NDC Dhaka :-)