DACCA: Yesterday [Nov 17] witnessed the start of a massive national and international relief operation as the magnitude of the East Pakistan disaster, caused by the cyclone and tidal wave, dawned upon the world.

UN President Edward Hambro and Secretary-General U Thant … called on all 127 members of the UN to rush aid and assistance to Pakistan. As he spoke, planes from Switzerland, Iran, UK, USA and West Germany carried relief materials for the stricken people.

Meanwhile, the East Pakistan Governor, Vice-Admiral S.M. Ahsan, took over direction of relief operations on the offshore islands of Bhola and Hatiya, setting up his camp in Manpura Island yesterday. … Pakistan Navy ships, carrying medical teams, medicines, food and clothing, moved to the devastated areas. — Correspondent

[Meanwhile, according to an agency message from Calcutta,] The official death toll rose to 55,000 but unofficial estimates continue to give figures of up to 500,000. One report said 14 islands that vanished under the tidal waves appeared to have lost their entire 1,400,000 population, indicating that the most pessimistic estimates so far might prove a great deal too low.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2020