August 10, 2004

Relief efforts

The flood water is receding and the affected people are slowly returning to their home. They are being exposed to the reality that there is nothing left as their capital: no home, no infrastructure, no crops, no food. So they will have to depend upon aid for quite sometime. In the meantime they will have to tackle the threat of the water-borne diseases.

The Bangladesh government is working with aid agencies and non-governmental organizations to distribute relief although they have struggled to reach those in far-flung districts. The source of the relief is the government food stock and the prime ministers relief fund, which is getting donations of $250000 a day. At last Bangladesh has appealed to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for funds to start rehabilitating the over 33 million people uprooted by floods.

But the real heroes are the youth of Bangladesh who are organizing numerous relief camps in the educational institutions across the country. They are volunteering to accumulating donations, packing relief goods and sending them to remotest of places.

Yesterday one of my favorite writers Mr. Zafar Iqbal (Professor of Shahjalal University of Science & Technology) wrote in the Daily Prothom Alo about the marvelous helping attitude and tremendous determination he has seen in the youths, specially the students in his University. He wrote that as the water purifier tablets are scarce in the market, some University students with the guidance of their teachers have developed a new formula of water purifiers from available cheap sources, tested it in the laboratories and started producing and distributing en-masse. He said that people probably will never know about it as they did not do it to earn fame or money and there was no publicity. There are stories like this allover the country.

Ann Seymour, a Brit currently in Bangladesh working in an NGO, has this to say about the relief efforts:

I’ve never seen such an incredible display of unity and spirit . The universities have been closed and turned into relief preparation centers where everyone can turn up to help when they have spare time. When I went along, it was teeming with volunteers from all walks of life who were doing whatever they could to help. People have been given time off work to help, and across the country, ordinary employees have given up a whole day’s salary to donate to the aid work. Almost wherever you go, you can see someone doing something to help. And when I went to one of the food distribution centers, the courage and determination of the flood-affected people I met had me blabbing all the way home.

Related Links: Bangladesh flood worker's diary


Post a Comment