Gene Expression

Sidr update

Update: OK, not to be morbid, but the confirmed death tolls is now greater than 3,000, and there is a tentative projected death toll on the order of 10,000. That’s in line with my comments below. End Update

The death toll is pushing 2,000. I think I might be safe in saying that the fatalities are going to be one order of magnitude lower than the 1991 and 1970 typhoons. Chris Mooney considers whether Sidr was as bad as hurricane Mitch in 1998. Mitch caused 11,000 fatalities. Sidr might cause as many. But the combined population for Nicaragua and Honduras is about 13 million today (one assumes it was a bit smaller back then). The population of Bangladesh today is in the range of 150 million. In 1970 East Pakistan (what became Bangladesh) had less than half the population of Bangladesh today, so that puts the fatality contrast in some perspective as well. The numbers here lead me to suggest that the impact of Mitch in relative terms was more comparable to the typhoons of ’91 or ’70 which hit Bangladesh rather than Sidr. Some of this might be chalked up to better preparedness, though much of it surely has to be that Sidr made landfall in a relatively underpopulated region, the Sundarbans. It might have been a different story if the bull’s-eye had been on the mouth of the Meghna, one of the most densely populated regions of country (which combines the flow of the Ganges and Brahmaputra as well as several other local rivers).

Here’s a donation page for the International Red Cross/Crescent.


  1. #1 Lassi Hippeläinen
    November 18, 2007

    Using the whole population of Bangla Desh is misleading. On the other hand, also India was hit. (There were some impacts as far as Tamil Nadu.) Wikipedia says “sheltering was only available for about 500,000 of the over 10 million residents of coastal areas”. Considering that, the death toll is surprisingly low. I’d say the local authorities were far more competent than those in New Orleans.

    Yeah, Wikipedia has an up-to-date article on Sidr. “At least 2,185 deaths have been reported.”