Around 24 Apr 1991 a cyclone started to develop near the Andaman and Nicobar islands and began to move north into the upper Bay of Bengal, dragging a tidal surge up to 6 m with it. It made landfall near Coxs Bazaar on 29 April and moved up the east coast towards Chittagong. Low pressures reached around 920 hPa, causing wind speeds well over 125kts.
Around 140,000 lost their lives and a comparable number were injured, with an estimated 15 million people affected in some way. The situation was made worse by the underestimation of its severity, the short notice given for evacuations and the lack of preparedness. The tidal surge innundated agricultural land with sea water, destroying crops and making it unproductive. Chittagong Harbour was to all intents and purposes, destroyed.
A multi-national relief effort began with massive contributions from the US (led by the USMC
with an Expeditionary Battalion, c 30 helicopters and 4 hovercraft in support, under Operation Sea Angel
) together with assistance from China, India, Japan, Pakistan and the United Kingdom (with 4 Sea Kings from 826 NAS D Flt embarked on RFA Fort Grange, under Operation Manna