Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh on Thursday, generating a six-meter-high tidal wave and causing widespread flooding and massive destruction in coastal communities. The flooding has been declared a national calamity by the government, and relief agencies are reporting that over 3,000 people have lost their lives. Aid workers fear the death toll will continue to rise as they gain access to the more remote areas that have been cut off by floodwaters. Aid groups are also voicing concerns about outbreaks of waterborne and other diseases. The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society is appealing for $5.7 million to cope with the disaster.
The Red Crescent Society predicts that, based on past experience, the death toll from this flood might surpass 10,000. And, according to news reports, relief aid has been slow to arrive because, in some remote areas, there is no government or relief-organization presence on the ground. The Chicago Sun Times reports on one farmer who has not received any aid for himelf or his family because food dropped by military helicopters is immediately carried off by mobs.
I don’t even know what to say. I know this catastrophe has something to do with global climate change, shifting weather patterns, and rising sea levels, but it seems pointless to get into that right now. The most important problem right now is that people are dying.
There’s not much I can do to help victims from here, but I will send money to aid groups that are in a better position to help people in Bangladesh. In the early days of the 2004 Asian Tsumani, donations from individual American donors surpassed the amount pledged by the US government. Individual giving can make a huge difference.
Below is a list of organizations that are raising funds for flood victims. If anyone knows of local Bangladeshi aid groups that are raising money IN Bangladesh, especially in remote rural areas, please give me their names and web addresses so I can add them to this list.
If my community were ever flooded, I’d hope people wouldn’t just shake their heads and turn away. Do unto others . . ..
Also, I found this on the Adhunika blog:
BRAC has committed Tk 20 crore towards relief operations. Unfortunately BRAC is not accepting donations online. As most of you know, BRAC has a remarkable track record and is very cognizant of local conditions given that they are engaged in grass-roots activities. Human rights organization, Drishtipat, is collecting online donations for Phiriye Ano Bangladesh and BRAC on their website (see below).
Drishtipat is collecting donation for the flood victims. It also has put together a list of credible organizations that are engaged in flood relief efforts
There’s also a Facebook group with an EXTENSIVE LIST of organizations that are accepting donations.