“The death toll has already reached 3,000 confirmed dead,” Mohammad Rob said.
Death toll rising
Heather Blackwell from Oxfam told Al Jazeera: “The numbers of the death toll is rising and there has been a sharp increase in the last 24 hours.
“There are a lot of areas we still haven’t reached.”
Owen Fay, an Al Jazeera correspondent reporting from the remote southern village of Harimpala in Bangladesh, said: “As soon we arrived here the scenes of devestation were everywhere.
“Their entire rice crop for the year has been destroyed.
“We could hear the sounds of women wailing as we walked in. Men described scenes of the cyclone itself, how the water levels rose to their throats, washing children away.”
In southern Bangladesh, the bloated corpses of people and animals dotted the landscape, raising fears of disease, while untold numbers of survivors were short of food and water.
Many of the deaths were caused by the tidal wave and by flying debris and falling trees that crushed flimsy bamboo and tin homes, the best that many people in the country can afford.
Abdul Zabbar, a teacher in Barguna district, 200km south of the capital Dhaka, said survivors might not be able to hold out for long.
“There is no food and drinking water. Bodies are still floating in the rivers and paddy fields,” he said, adding the rice harvest, representing four months of food, had been washed away.
Sattar Gazi, another farmer, said: “I lost six of my family members in the cyclone. I am afraid that the remaining three of us will die of hunger.”
Race against time
|Aid work has been hampered by poor
and badly affected infrastructure [AFP]
Relief workers were racing to get aid to stricken areas five days after the storm hit.
Soliders have been drafted in to help the relief operation but many roads have been blocked or washed away by the tidal wave that broke across the coast along with cyclone Sidr.
“In the remote areas it is slow-going,” said Douglas Casson Coutts of the World Food Programme.
“They are almost chopping trees as they go along.”
The massive rescue effort has attracted help from around the world, but relief items, including tents, rice and water, were slow to reach many survivors.
‘Time of crisis’
Aiyub Bhuiyan, Bangladesh’s disaster management secretary, has met representatives from the UN and international aid groups to discuss the emergency response.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said in a statement that several million dollars were available from the UN’s emergency response funds.
Many foreign governments and international groups have also pledged to help, including the United States, which offered $2.1m.
Other governments and organisations that pledged to help include the German government, which offered $731,000, the EU with $2.2m and the British government with $5m.
France pledged $730,000 in aid, while the Philippines announced it would send a medical team.
The Bangladesh government said it had allocated $5.2m in emergency aid for rebuilding houses.
Bangladesh is hit by storms every year but cyclone Sidr is the worst to have hit the country since 1991 when nearly 143,000 people died in a cyclone and tidal surge.