Here’s a Cat4 cyclone (called hurricanes in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico) drawing a bead on Kolkata and Bangla Desh. Satellite photo here. It reminds me of the days before Katrina, with some interesting differences:
(1) The people in the path of Sidr are poor as churchmice.
(2) They live in one of the largest, flattest, lowest, river deltas on earth: the elevation 150 miles inland is only about 15 ft above sea level.
(3) There are few good roads and people don’t have cars to drive on them to evacuate anyway.
(4) More than four million people live in the coastal provinces of Bangla Desh; West Bengal has 80 million; don’t even ask about conditions in coastal Myanmar (on the high storm surge side of the storm).
(5) Government relief services may have competence and resources somewhat below those of FEMA (per capita income in Bangla Desh is about $2000).
(6) I can’t find a story about this unfolding catastrophe in any US mainstream media; CNN world has been covering it (I’m currently in Abu Dhabi) . There’s an AP story on CNN’s web site describing the evacuation of thousands (thousands??!! see (4) above) that makes things sound more or less under control.