Reports on the ground in Bangladesh estimate that more than 10,000 people have lost their lives in one of the most powerful cyclones to hit that area in the last 20 years. That's more than 10 times the amount of deaths caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans just two years ago.
The cyclone -- or what we would call a hurricane -- made landfall at category 4 intensity last Thursday in the Bay of Bengal. It's the large curved bay located in the Indian Ocean, with India along its western border and Burma to the east. The geographically small country of Bangladesh lies at the Bay's apex, an area that is susceptible to massive storm surges. On the other side of the world is another coastline that is shaped similar to the Bay of Bengal and is considered the second most vulnerable place in the world for surge. That's Apalachee Bay and it's located in our own backyard.
Even though our coast is extraordinarily vulnerable to surges, the infrastructure and warning system is far better here than the third-world country that is suffering so much.
Cyclone Sidr's death toll should end up far lower than the 143,000 from a cyclone in 1991, and nearly a half million fatalities in Bangladesh's 1970 cyclone.