Flooding in southwest Bangladesh

I owe you all an update on what I’ve been up to these past few weeks but this post is to let you know about the current situation facing the people of southwest Bangladesh.

The communities of southwest Bangladesh are in need of urgent support. Ravaged by cyclone Aila earlier this year they are now facing a devastating flood. Heavy monsoon rains arrived much later than normal, decimating crops and livelihoods and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Waterborne diseases are rife and most people do not have access to adequate health care. A situation assessment report Flood situation report 2009 has been developed by my colleagues at Uttaran, please take a little time to read it.

Uttaran, the organisation I am working with, has been working in the southwest region of Bangladesh since 1985. The organization assists the disadvantaged people of the area in their struggle for human rights and social justice, ensuring their effective participation in various spheres of development. Its focus is on the landless, women, outcastes, untouchables and religio-ethnic minorities who are victims of socio-economic dislocation, hierarchic caste system and the male-dominated society. Uttaran is currently implementing programmes in partnership with Shiree/DFID, Manusher Jonno Foundation, ActionAid Bangladesh, Oxfam GB, Trocaire Ireland, Missereor Germany, UNDP and the Embassy of Japan.

Uttaran have contacted numerous aid agencies, including DFID, to raise awareness of the situation and to request emergency relief. At present no international aid organisation has provided any support to the victims of the flooding.

I had visited Tala several times before the rains came and to see it again this week after the flooding is very sad. You need a boat to visit areas you could walk to only weeks before. There are thousands of families living on the roadside, many with no proper shelter and the elderly and children are particularly vulnerable to the disease and food shortages.

If you know of any individuals or organisations that might be able to help please forward the report on and extend your support and solidarity to the communities of southwest Bangladesh.

Thanks.

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2 Responses to “Flooding in southwest Bangladesh”

  1. Pat Sutcliffe Says:

    Hi Brian, as few months have passed how is the situation now for flood victims? what would be the best way to give support – financial or short term volunteering? ( ex- VSO volunteer May-Oct09 Namibia) Hope you are keeping well

    • Hi Pat

      Thanks for the comment.

      In the areas where Uttaran is working things have improved as the waters has subsided a little and some additional resources (like blankets, food, latrines, sheets for shelter, etc) have been provided by international donors like DFID. However, I don’t know what the situtation is like elsewhere and when I recently visited the areas affected by Cyclone Aila the communities there where still in pretty dire need as a result of Aila and the flooding. I know that Action Aid and Save the Children are doing quite a bit of work in the area and it might be possible to contribute to those programmes.

      I think the longer term problem is that the government (both national policy makers and local administrators) are not taking action enough action to ensure that the communities are less vulnerabe in the future. This is something that Uttaran is trying to address and I will certainly keep people up to date with any advocacy work we do on the issue and how you could support it.

      Cheers
      Brian

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