More than 3,200 people were killed when the Category 4 Cyclone Sidr ravaged the coast of Bangladesh on November 15. An increase in technological capability in both predictive meteorology and communications within the country have led to the implementation of a national cyclone warning system, which many disaster experts believe lessened the Sidr catastrophe by scales of magnitude. The Storm Warning Center of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department administers the system and began monitoring Sidr as it was forming some 10 days before landfall. The preparedness efforts extended far beyond mere warnings, however. According to the United Nations, 620,000 evacuees were harbored in 2,000 specifically constructed inland "cyclone shelters," and government agencies aided the rest in finding "higher ground" away from the more dangerous low-lying coastal regions.
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