After hitting Bangladesh’s coastal region on Monday night, Cyclone Sitrang has resulted in the deaths of at least 35. Further millions are still without power and telecommunications networks as the country springs into action to urgently restore vital supplies. The newspaper Prothom Alo reports that damage to electrical systems is estimated at around ৳2.2billion, whilst the Guardian has reported that close to 10,000 homes have either been damaged or destroyed.   
25-year-old resident of Maheshkhali, Tahmidul Islam, said of the storm,
“Such was the power of the wind, we could not sleep in the night because of the fear that our homes will be destroyed. Snakes entered many homes. Water also inundated many homes.” 
Prothom Alo notes that of the reported deaths, 18 were men, 10 were women, and 7 were children. It is understood that four people have died in each of the districts of Bhola and Tangail, with a further three dead in Cumilla, two in Munshiganj, two in Gopalganj, two in Sirajganj, as well as two in Cox’s Bazar. There was also a single death in each of the following areas: Gazipur, Brahmanbaria, Shariatpur, Patualhali, Narail, Barguna, Noakhali, and Jhalokati. Eight men were also reported killed when a sand mining dredger sank in the Sandwip Channel. 
“Ground zero for climate change”
In addition to annual cyclones in Bangladesh (and neighbouring India), it is documented that a quarter of Bangladesh’s landmass is less than seven feet above sea level. A four-month monsoon season causes severe flooding and every year, around 50,000 to 200,000 people are displaced owing to riverbank erosion. 
With excessive rainfall and flooding comes an increase in waterborne diseases and higher soil and water salinity – reducing the amount of useable water for crops, cleaning, and drinking.
Compounding the environmental problems further is the dumping of human and other waste into Bangladeshi rivers, such as the Buriganga. The US-based NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) has warned that the capital city of Dhaka throws around 4,500 tons of solid waste into the Buriganga every single day. 
A history of cyclones
Bangladesh experiences yearly tropical cyclones due to its geography. In particular, the formation of the northern section of the Bay of Bengal makes storm surges worse and as a result, the country has invested heavily in cyclone shelters that are ordinarily used as elementary schools and converted into bunkers during emergencies. 
Prior to Cyclone Sitrang, 2021 saw “Yaas” and the year before that, there was Cyclone Amphan. The latter caused multicountry devastation amounting to a monetary value of more than $13bn. As the strongest cyclone to ever hit the Ganges Delta, 128 people were killed in its wake. 
In 1991, a super cyclonic storm caused unprecedented destruction, including the deaths of at least 138,000. With sustained speeds of up to 160mph, around a million homes were flattened with ten million left homeless.
May Allah forgive us of our sins and grant patience to those who have lost their homes and belongings in this recent calamity. We should remind one another that such events happen with great wisdom, and such trials are a means for us to draw closer to Allah, to renew our faith and trust in Him, and to recognise our mistakes and shortcomings. 
The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahu Allah) once said,
“Were it not that Allah treats His slaves with the remedy of trials and calamities, they would transgress and overstep the mark. When Allah wills good for His slaves, He gives him the medicine of calamities and trials according to his situation, so as to cure him from all fatal illnesses and diseases, until He purifies and cleanses him, and then makes him qualified for the most honourable position in this world, which is that of being a true slave of Allah (‘ubudiyyah), and for the greatest reward in the Hereafter, which is that of seeing Him and being close to Him.” 
 Zād al-Ma’ād, 4/195