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6/12/97 IMB sends Bangladeshis aid to rebuild after cyclone

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Coastal Bangladeshis whose homes, churches, crops and water supplies were devastated by a cyclone in May will receive $171,169 in aid from the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
Southern Baptist World Hunger Funds totaling $94,506 will buy fruit tree seedlings and rice to help families plant new orchards and fields. The money also will provide for 55 new water wells to replace water supplies contaminated by the storm surge that washed over the land.
General relief funds totaling $76,663 will provide for rebuilding 483 homes and 40 church buildings that were destroyed. Most of the structures are made of bamboo and thatch.
About 150,000 people were left homeless from the cyclone. The International Mission Board aid will reach 3,500 of those victims, said Bill Cashion, the board’s human needs consultant. Still, he added, the contribution is among the largest of any evangelical group sent to the region.
“One reason we’re able to make such a contribution is because of the renewed commitment on the part of Southern Baptists to give to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund,” Cashion noted. For some time, giving had been in a slump and response to such disasters had been more limited.
But late last year, receipts showed a turnaround, fueled by greater giving during the October world hunger emphasis. Already through the first five months of this year, giving to human needs through the board is running 24 percent above the same period last year. Giving in January was the highest since 1988, and in February the highest since 1990.
Meanwhile, Baptist World Aid (BWAid), the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, is sending $10,000 through Bangladesh Baptists as an initial response to provide food, clothing and shelter for the storm’s victims.