1998 Cyclone and Floods

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During the 1998 cyclone that devastated Bangladesh, HOPE worldwide did a good deal of relief work in and around Dhaka, helping thousands of families with immediate needs in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone. Mark Templer, South Asian Director for HOPE worldwide, personally visited at that time for several days to supervise the work and oversee it. HOPE worldwide is now registered to do ongoing work in Bangladesh and has educational and vocational training programs under development in the Dhaka area.

In the late 1990s HOPE worldwide and SHARE Bangladesh, led by Dr. Andrew Baroi, collaborated for several years to run medical programs in Tangail District, Hadibandha Village. We also ran a medical clinic in Nutan Bazaar, Dhaka. From 2000 to 2008 our volunteers did relief, sanitation, agricultural and education work in Cox Bazaar District in partnership with Jibon Sympathetic Foundation and also raised and donated some funds. We conducted medical camps, vocational training with Bajon Hospital and HIV awareness in Dhaka through volunteers on a regular basis.

 

2007 Cyclone SIDR and Floods

On 15 November 2007, Cyclone Sidr, a Category 4 tropical storm, hit Bangladesh, affecting the lives of over 8.5 million people. Up to 4000 people died, and 1.45 million homes were destroyed. The storm had winds of up to 150 mph and tidal surges reached 20 feet, destroying homes, crops, livestock, and fishery infrastructure.

Falling trees crushed homes. Tin roofs were lifted and tossed around like frisbees. Village walls crumbled. Tidal waves engulfed animals and crops, washing away people’s livelihood. Rice, the staple food and most important crop in the country, was two weeks away from being harvested when the cyclone hit. A United Nations report estimated crop losses at 800,000 tons. In a country where livelihood depends on agriculture, the losses left millions vulnerable to food insecurity.

In the aftermath of the cyclone, basic needs were acute in Bangladesh. Water sources were contaminated with refuse and wreckages caused by the storm, leaving people with no access to clean water. People feared the spread of water-borne disease and epidemics.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided over $2 million for emergency relief, along with aid from other NGOs.

However, the effects of the disaster are long-term. It will take years to rebuild what was lost. Jhunu Dhali, a Bangladeshi, said that she and her family barely survived the devastating cyclone. “I couldn’t even think of my children and my husband for a single moment as all of us grabbed the pillars,” she said. “The only thing in my heart and in my mouth was God’s name.” As Bangladesh is one of the world’s poorest countries, third to India and China, most people will probably never get their homes or their livelihoods back. HOPE worldwide was there providing relief after the cyclone.

In 2007, thanks to donations from International Churches of UK, HOPE worldwide helped distribute relief to families in need. In addition, HOPE worldwide is now starting a permanent program in Bangladesh, through the support of George/Asda, to start a school and vocational training program for the families of textile workers in Gazipur/Kanabari area, north of Dhaka.

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