Cyclone Mahasen - one year on

Cyclone Mahasen - one year on

One year after cyclone Mahasen struck southern Bangladesh, Beauty and her family are still working hard to rebuild their lives. MAF and GIZ are partnering with such people them to help them back on track

Updated May 2014

Beauty Sheel lives in Barguna, a disaster prone area in the south of Bangladesh, vulnerable to cyclones and climate change. In May 2013 cyclone Mahasen struck her area and Beauty is still recovering from the storm.

When cyclone Mahasen struck, Beauty went to the nearby cyclone shelter with her two children, a nine-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.

'My husband was at sea with eight other men on a fishing boat,' Beauty recounts. 'A tree fell on him injuring his shoulder and head. He returned from sea unconscious three days later.'

When the waters receded Beauty returned to her home, which was severely damaged by the storm. Beauty and her husband then began the arduous task of rebuilding their life after the storm.

  • Operates the country's only amphibious aircraft
  • Ensures aid agencies reach isolated areas timely and safely
  • Flies 2,300 aid personnel a year
  • Can do a flight in 30 minutes which takes 14 hours by road
  • Can overcome dangerous road travel. Road accidents in Bangladesh result in 6,300 deaths per 100,000 vehicles. The UK figure is just 5.1.

GIZ, a German development cooperation that offers demand-driven, tailor-made and effective services for sustainable development, is working in these communities to provide training and support so people can develop skills to earn a living.

Beauty is a member of a basket weaving common interest group. GIZ teaches the women to make baskets, provides them with bamboo, and helps the women sell the baskets.

Making the baskets takes two days- one day to cut strips from the bamboo and another for weaving. Each baskets sells for about 60 taka (about 50 pence).

MAF provides regular flight service for GIZ staff to visit their projects in the remote areas in Bangladesh.

'We use MAF frequently. They are a good resource for us,' shares Asma Parzin, Senior Program Officer of GIZ Bangladesh.

'People can cover a great distance in a short amount of time. MAF benefits the development of Bangladesh.'

One year after the cyclone, Beauty and her family are still burdened to continue rebuilding their lives.

Beauty’s husband now works as a day laborers and Beauty’s main source of income is from the sale of the baskets. They have made some repairs to the structure of their home after the cyclone damage, but still need to make further internal restorations.

Recovery from the cyclone that struck in May 2013 will take time and hard work. Support provided by GIZ and MAF in remote and vulnerable areas is helping women like Beauty form skills to rebuild their life after the disaster and to strive towards ownership of their own sustainable development.