In the days after Sidr, as it became clear that the loss of life, while great, was smaller than previous natural disasters of this proportion, there were two schools of thought that I heard. They went like this:
a) Most of the survivors are as good as dead because they have lost everything needed to make a living. Their lives are always hanging by a fine thread. Ownership of a cow, couple of goats, and a roof over their head, plus some means of livelihood - eg, a chicken farm, or a shrimp farm - these things took them so long to acquire that it would be impossible for them to recover from these losses.
b) The people living down south are always prepared for disasters and are very resilient. Therefore, they are down but will recover. It could have been a lot worse had it struck during high tide.
Who knows what the truth is? I don't. I can't even begin to imagine the misery, despair, pain they are going through.
I just talked with a friend who spent four days in Sidr-struck places. This is someone who gets around, and has seen a lot of Bangladesh. He said that his perspective on our poverty has completely changed. He can't fathom how the poor people he saw can ever pull out of it - whereas even a month ago he was very optimistic about the future.
One of the questions he can't find an answer to: what will happen to survivors who get going and then - because of changing world climate - another Sidr or two strikes next year? Then what?
I also hear that right now the US helicopters are the best bet to prevent the survivors from starving to death. Those who survived the last eleven days, that is.