WASHINGTON (BP)–Baptist World Aid, the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, has allocated $10,000 as an initial response for relief and rehabilitation work following the May 19 cyclone that devastated parts of Bangladesh.
Government sources confirmed 111 deaths as of May 28, but unofficial sources were placing the figure much higher. Many people were saved by early warning systems and cyclone shelters built since a massive 1991 cyclone disaster.
However, there is extensive damage and many of the kutcha (mud brick) houses have been destroyed, and 500,000 to 1.5 million people are displaced or homeless. In addition, there has been extensive damage to crops, schools, embankments, livestock, industries, business, power supply and communications.
Immediate needs include food, shelter, drinking water and clothing before any longer-term resettlement work can be undertaken.
Working through the Bangladesh Baptist Fellowship and the Bangladesh Baptist Sangha, BWAid funds will help provide food, clothing and shelter. This will be made available to all in need, working in conjunction with Christian and other agencies. Both the Sangha and the Fellowship have already made assessment visits to the area and are finalizing their relief programs.
Many Baptists have suffered as a result of this calamity, and well known institutions like the Chandraghona hospital have been extensively damaged.
James S. Roy, general secretary of the Sangha, thanked BWAid for its concern and sympathy, pointing out “thousands of our people in the offshore islands are homeless and living under the sky. We request you to launch a specific appeal for (our) rehabilitation program.”
Donations for BWAid “Bangladesh — Relief” may be forwarded to BWA’s offices at 6733 Curran St., McLean, VA 22101; phone, (703) 790- 8980; fax, (703) 893-5160; e-mail, [email protected] A U.S. tax receipt will be issued.