Monday, 24 October 2016

We almost drowned when the flood waters swept our home away in Bangladesh.

Mrs. Rashida (right) a 27 years old Mother with 2 children lives at Arjuna Union.

"My house was swept away by the enormous floods in July this year and we had such a good house made with a corrugated iron roof, and we had ring slab toilets and enough land to make a living from. We worked so hard and faced many challenges to get our house and land into such good condition. Our dreams are dead now. I am living for my children, nothing more. I cry when my daughter asks me where our house is. I am speechless."

"The JAMUNA river took everything: land, house, furniture, pots and pans etc. We are now living on land which belongs to some other villagers, in a small room  and we have no latrine so use the open spaces."

"When we shifted to our present land when the floods swept our house away, we drank flood water for 20 days as the tube wells were under water. We didn’t have any options.  Often we got severe stomach pains, loose motions and cold fever as well. It’s very hard and frustrating."

My husband works for daily wages but it’s not permanent. When he is lucky and gets work, he gets 250 BDT per day.  To survive, I have started to making cloths (Handmade).
It is so depressing having to start our life again.  I  fear for my children’s future !"

"Today my life changed.  I met volunteers from the Bangladesh Red Cross who said I was eligible to receive a cash grant and have issued me a card, and I will receive the money later in the week. This is such a blessing and will help us make a new start.'
                                SAFE DRINKING WATER IS A CHALLENGE

Shona Banu (left) has a semi-permanent room which was made out of Patkhore (Jute sticks) and Bamboo. It is separated into two area. They are living in one area and the other is to keep their cattle safe at night. They don’t have latrine facilities and use the open for the call of nature, just behind the house. It was very difficult to manage during the flood season and was very stressful.

Before the floods, she used to get drinking water from a common tube well nearby but it was contaminated during floods and most people have diarrhea.

Children also suffered from diarrhea, colds and fever. As there is a lack of proper health facilities they are getting some medicines from one compounder who is living in the same village Shona

Banu’s husband formerly worked in small cloth factory in Digri Hugra town and earns 250 BDT per day but worked only two days per week. She said it has been quite difficult to manage her family before the flood as her husband also has to pay to travel 45 -60 minutes by boat to reach Digri Hugra town. Now that the Kakua union is totally disconnected during the flood season he cannot travel to work now. “Sometimes my children, Mother, Husband and myself are starving without food, and when we have food, we take one meal per day. "Yesterday a group of Bangladesh Red Crescent (BDRCS) volunteers came into our villages to do an assessment, and we have qualified for a cash donation, and I have been given a registration card. I am so happy as this will help us get our life together again.”

Over 3.7 million people in Bangladesh have been severely affected by this year's flooding which started in July. More than 250,000 houses have been severely damaged and 17,000  have been completely washed away, and 65,000 lost to river bank erosion.

To date, the BDRCS has provided relief supplies to 44,891 families as well as many portable latrines and tubewells.

BDRCS is also currently implementing recovery activities in the aftermaths of Cyclone Roanu that hit in last May in different parts of the country (south-east)

With the relief phase finishing later this week, the Bangladesh Red Cross supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and its members working in country: The American Red Cross, British Red Cross, German Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross, Swiss Red Cross and Turkish Red Crescent have in-country presence focusing on supporting BDRCS in longer-term programming, including disaster risk reduction (DRR) programmes. These risk reduction programmes have done much to reduce loss of life, minimise damage and contribute to more resilient communities. But more needs to be done.

BDRC volunteers conduct assessments to ensure the most needy get support.
Considering the major damage to housing, water and latrine facilities, health services, agricultural lands, harvest and thereby disruptions to regular livelihoods patterns, the early recovery/recovery needs following this flooding is significant as reported in HCTT need analysis and BDRCS assessment report.  We are now switching oirr attentions to longer term  recovery interventions focusing on WASH, health, shelter, food security, livelihood and DRR.

We are looking for at least a further 700,000 Swiss Francs to be able to run a a longer term recovery intervention.  Please give generously to BDRCS  or the .IFRC or your own national Red Cross or Red Crescent Society.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

River Erosion in Bangladesh

When the severe flooding started two months ago in Bangladesh, river erosion was an earlier, and silent part of a climate change package that is worsening each year. When I was working here in 1999 and 2000 we supported the Bangladesh Red Crescent on a programme trying to identify the increasing number of water migrants who were being pushed out of the homes, before the major flooding hit. The Canadian Red Cross provided an information delegate to make a video of river erosion. I have sadly, forgotten her name, but she did a brilliant job of making the video. The EU provided funding.
This year Sam Smith the IFRC information delegate came to Bangladesh and wrote a very good article on river erosion where he wrote, "Some 17,000 houses have been completely washed away due to river erosion, according to government estimates." Here is the link.
I thought it might be useful to provide a summary of the video we made in 1999- 2000 from an issue of the The Magazine of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. I hope someone out there may still have a copy.
Federation and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, 2000, 13 min.
This video shows how river erosion is breaking up traditional lives and families, and how it is impacting on the long-term future of Bangladesh. River erosion is a continuing problem throughout the country. While floods are often in the spotlight, river erosion is a silent and insidious disaster with devastating effects, including the loss of homes and farmland. The video, which aims to bring international attention to the issue, shows how affected families are coping with the problem and the efforts of the Bangladesh Red Crescent, with the support of the Federation and the European Union, to assist them in rebuilding their lives.