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 US Naval Ship Arrives Off Bangladesh

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PostSubyek: US Naval Ship Arrives Off Bangladesh   Sat Nov 24, 2007 9:56 pm

US Naval Ship Arrives Off Bangladesh

By FARID HOSSAIN – 1 day ago

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — The U.S. Navy prepared Friday to deliver much-needed food and medical supplies to hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis stricken by Cyclone Sidr, a top U.S. military commander said.

The arrival of the USS Kearsarge off the Bangladesh coast came as authorities and aid workers warned that the South Asian country faces acute food shortages after the devastating storm ravaged crops and destroyed infrastructure across a large swath of the country.

"We are here to help the people in their time of need," Adm. Timothy Keating, the top U.S. military commander in the Pacific Ocean, told reporters.

The first ship arrived Thursday and Keating said a second ship, the USS Essex, would arrive in the coming days.

About 300 members from a small Islamic group, Hizbut Tahrir, briefly demonstrated in Dhaka against the arrival of the ships, saying they were a threat to Bangladesh's security.

"Go back! We don't want the warships," shouted the protesters at the city's largest state-run mosque after Friday prayers. A contingent of riot police stopped them from pouring into the streets.

The U.S. ships are each carrying about 20 helicopters, which will help in delivering water, food and medical supplies to survivors in remote areas, U.S. officials said.

Officers from the Kearsarge spent most of Friday meeting with Bangladeshi military commanders to coordinate the operation, which will include a survey of the ravaged zone to pinpoint the neediest areas, U.S. officials said.

The delivery of relief supplies is expected to start Saturday, said Geeta Pasi, the top U.S. diplomat in Dhaka.

"We are excited to be able to respond to the immediate needs of the survivors," said Pasi.

U.S. medical teams have been distributing water purification tablets in the stricken zones to prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases, Pasi added.

With many drinking water wells destroyed by the cyclone, the need for clean water was becoming critical to ward off cholera and severe diarrhea.

The government has pledged to feed more than two million people left destitute by the storm, which killed more than 3,000.

But since the Nov. 15 storm hit southwestern Bangladesh, officials and relief agencies have struggled to get desperately needed rice, drinking water and tents to remote villages cut off when rain and winds washed out roads.

The government has promised to distribute 33 pounds of rice per month to each of the estimated 2.5 million people in need, many of them in crowded relief camps, starting Dec. 1, said Tapan Chowdhoury, the government's adviser on food and disaster management. The program will last at least four months, he said.

Kelly Stevenson, the Bangladesh director of Save the Children, said the charity estimates that 50 to 90 percent of the region's rice crop has been destroyed, leaving up to 3 million people at risk of food shortages over the next six months.

Bangladesh has received pledges of international aid of $450 million, including $250 million from the World Bank, Food and Disaster Management secretary Mohammad Ayub Mia said Thursday after a meeting with donors.

But in the short term, aid workers were struggling to get supplies to the devastated coastal region, where shortages have led to fistfights among survivors.

"Thousands of families are facing the real possibility of a second wave of death that can result from lack of clean water, food, shelter and medical supplies," said Stevenson.

The official death toll stood at 3,199, said Lt. Col. Main Ullah Chowdhury, spokesman for the army. The Disaster Management Ministry said 1,724 people were missing and 28,188 people had been injured. It said the cyclone destroyed 458,804 houses and partially damaged another 665,529.
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PostSubyek: Re: US Naval Ship Arrives Off Bangladesh   Sat Nov 24, 2007 9:59 pm

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Nov. 23 — As an American warship with more than 3,000 troops arrived off the coast of Bangladesh to help deliver food, water and medicine to the most remote corners of this cyclone-battered country, United States military officials took pains on Friday to say they would not take any steps that might seem intrusive.

A Bangladeshi military copter carried aid to Nalcity Friday.

Speaking to reporters, Adm. Timothy J. Keating, the commander of American forces in the Pacific, said American troops would work alongside Bangladeshi troops and make joint decisions about where American military assets would be helpful.

“This is not a U.S.-only operation; it’s in support of Bangladeshi operations,” he said at a news briefing after meeting with Bangladeshi Army officials here in Dhaka, the capital. “We are not just going to come storming ashore.”

The approach illustrated how tricky it has become for American troops to deliver even humanitarian aid to a friendly Muslim-majority nation.

The Bangladeshi Army’s chief of general staff, Maj. Gen. Sina Ibn Jamali, acknowledged that there was “sensitivity” to American military involvement in the nation’s relief operations. He said the Americans had been invited because his own military-backed government lacked the aircraft, in particular, to distribute aid swiftly to areas that needed it most.

“They will be working with us, uniform and uniform,” the general said.

The Associated Press reported that members of a small Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, protested the American military presence after Friday Prayer at Dhaka’s largest state-run mosque.

The American vessel, Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship equipped with 20 helicopters and three landing craft that can maneuver in coastal areas, was stationed Friday about 30 miles off the southern coast of Bangladesh.

United States military officials said that only a handful of American troops would be on Bangladeshi soil at any time, with most marines and Navy personnel staying aboard the Kearsarge and coming ashore to deliver supplies. Admiral Keating said the troops would stay as long as they were needed.

A second American ship was on its way, packed mostly with supplies. The Americans said they expected to start delivering aid as early as Saturday.

The Kearsarge arrived as aid workers warned of an imminent risk of water-borne disease from the Nov. 15 cyclone and, eventually, a worsening of childhood malnutrition, which already hovers around 48 percent, according to Unicef.

Although the cyclone’s death toll was put at nearly 3,200, according to Bangladeshi Army officials, with 1,700 more people still missing, the government estimated that the storm had affected more than six million Bangladeshis by destroying homes, fields and fish ponds.

The Bangladeshi military continued to ferry food and clothing to the cyclone zone. On Friday afternoon, a Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter made its last run to a small town called Nalcity, where the cyclone had uprooted tall trees, blown off tin roofs and flattened acres of rice fields.

The birds scattered and the dust blew furiously as the helicopter descended, bearing dried dates and biscuits as well as saris and lungis, the basic clothing for Bangladeshi women and men.
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PostSubyek: Re: US Naval Ship Arrives Off Bangladesh   Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:46 pm

HT Bangladesh condemns arrest of its spokesman for condemning US navy ships arrival in Bangladesh
Friday, 23 November 2007

Dhaka, Bangladesh, November 23 2007 - Chief Coordinator and Spokesman of Hizb ut-Tahrir Bangladesh, Mohiuddin Ahmed issued a statement today strongly condemning the arrest of the party's deputy spokesman Kazi Murshedul Haque and demanded his immediate release. Murshedul Haque was arrested by members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on his way to the party central office after a peaceful protest meeting. The protest was organized by the party against the arrival of US navy ships to Bangladesh in the name of providing relief to the victims of cyclone Sidr.

Before his arrest Murshedul Haque addressed thousands of worshippers outside the national mosque. In his speech, Murshedul Haque said "under the pretext of relief aid for cyclone victims, the imperialist US is sending military ships to the Bay of Bengal to further its colonial interests within the region." He expressed concern that the US state department made its decision to send the ships without any consultation with the Bangladesh government. In fact the government of Bangladesh is totally silent on the issue. The only information on the issue is coming from US officials which clearly indicates that Bangladesh is being dictated to by the US.

Murshedul Haque further added that it is well known that the US has for long aimed to establish a military base in Bangladesh. This intent by the colonialist US will be strongly resisted by the people of Bangladesh and they will not cease to protest until these US ships leave Bangladesh and its territorial waters. The Muslims of Bangladesh will not allow the US to set up a base in the country whilst they are killing our brothers and sisters in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries. Murshedul Haque ended his speech by demanding that the government must not allow the presence of a single US soldier on Bangladesh's soil.
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PostSubyek: Re: US Naval Ship Arrives Off Bangladesh   Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:41 am

Aktivis Hizb ut-Tahrir Bangladesh ditangkap kerana menentang kedatangan kapal US

Pada 23 November lepas, selepas solat Jumaat, Timbalan jurucakap Hizb ut-Tahrir Bangladesh, Murshedul Haque ditangkap kerana menentang ketibaan kapal perang US ke Bangladesh. Dia ditahan oleh Battalion Tindak Cepat ( Rapid Action Battalion) ketika di dalam perjalanan ke ibu pejabat parti setelah mengadakan demonstrasi aman di Masjid Negara Bangladesh. Demonstrasi tersebut yang dianjurkan oleh Parti dengan tujuan untuk memprotes kehadiran kapal perang US ke Bangladesh atas alasan untuk membantu mangsa ribut taufan Sidr yang melanda Bangladesh baru-baru ini.

Di dalam demonstrasi itu, Murshedul Haque telah berucap di hadapan ribuan jemaah di luar Masjid Negara Bangladesh. Di dalam salah satu ucapannya, Murshedul Haque berkata “dengan memberikan alasan untuk membantu mangsa ribut taufan, kuasa emperialis US telah menghantar kapal perangnya ke Teluk Bengal untuk meluaskan kepentingannya di rantau ini.”. Dia juga berkata, “Jabatan Negara US mengambil keputusan untuk menghantar bantuan itu tanpa merujuk kepada kerajaan Bangladesh. Bahkan, kerajaan Bangladesh terus membisu di dalam isu ini.” Menurutnya lagi, ini sebenarnya secara tidak langsung telah mendedahkan pengaruh US ke atas kerajaan Bangladesh memandangkan semua kenyataan hanya dikeluarkan oleh para pegawai US. Seolah-olah hanya US sahaja yang memainkan peranan, dimanakah kenyataan dan ulasan daripada pihak kerajaan Bangladesh?.

Murshedul Haque meneruskan ucapannya dengan membuat pendedahan tentang niat US yang telah lama merancang untuk membina pengkalan tenteranya di Bangladesh, tetapi tidak pernah berpeluang. Dan sehingga kini, rakyat Bangladesh akan terus menentang kehendak US tersebut. Bahkan mereka akan terus memprotes sehingga US mengundurkan kapal-kapal tenteranya daripada perairan Bangladesh. Kaum muslimin di Bangladesh tidak akan sekali-kali membenarkan US membina pengkalan tersebut. Mana mungkin umat akan membenarkannya sedangkan pada masa yang sama US membunuh kaum muslimin sewenang-wenangnya di Iraq, Afganistan dan juga di merata dunia yang lain. Murshedul mengakhiri ucapannya dengan menyeru kepada kerajaan Bangladesh agar tidak membenarkan seorang pun tentera US memijakkan kaki di bumi Bangladesh.

Hizb ut-Tahrir Bangladesh melalui jurucakapnya, Mohiuddin Mohamed telah mengeluarkan kenyataan akhbar mengutuk tindakan tersebut dan mendesak kerajaan agar membebaskan timbalannya itu.
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