Jhuma’s home, a small mud house, stands alone on a little raised piece of land in the middle of a vast inland sea. She lives in the haor, a seemingly endless stretch of wetlands in Sunamganj in northern Bangladesh. Everything around her is covered by water. She cannot see land, as far as she looks, for more than half of the year. More children drop out from schools in these areas than anywhere else in the country. 20 million people live in the haor region that spreads across seven districts. Less than 1% finish high school.
As a young child in Sylhet, Bangladesh, I remember my daily life being attached to the land. Thrills came from chasing my cousins barefoot down hot, dirt roads; from sneaking out to watch older kids play soccer in the neighboring green fields; from helping my grandmother water her crops. When it would rain, as it frequently does in Sylhet, I would anxiously wonder when it would stop.
This post was originally posted by Susan Davis in the Huffington Post blog. Imagine if Hurricane Katrina struck all the states from Florida to Massachusetts and massive floods washed away homes and businesses, destroyed roads and bridges, and devastated the lives of tens of millions of Americans. How would we react in the immediate aftermath? How quickly would we respond to the urgent need to provide food, water and health care to the victims? How would the media respond? We know the answer. There would be wall-to-wall daily coverage with stories of devastation and emergency response, and a clarion call to Americans with direction on the most effective way to help those in need.
Summary of BRAC’s relief work in Pakistan since on August 2nd: Flood relief packets distributed to78,000 individuals. 15,000 patients treated at BRAC’s medical camps. Food relief packets given to over 13,000 families. Hand tube wells installed at 57 locations, restoring clean water supply to over 14,000 people (see photo) Re-building homes, repairing homes, fixing sanitation systems, clearing roads (collectively, “Cash for Work” activities) for the benefit of over 4,700 people.
We have the latest update from the flood situation: It has stopped raining in various parts of the province and the water level is receding. However, the Meteorological Department has issued warnings of further rains and chances for flood until 6th August, 2010. Our BRAC Health Team has reported from the field that some people are now returning to their homes, initiating cleaning and fumigation activities.Update on BRAC Response:
Disasters seem to be happening all the time now. Maybe climate change is the culprit. But when they happen to you or to people you know, it becomes very personal. I get that. And I know most Americans don’t know the people in Pakistan who have just had their homes and lives swept away in the worst flooding in 80 years, but let me share with you why you should care as if they were your own family. Our Country Manager, Farid Rahman, wrote to me this morning to thank us saying "we are very much happy that you are working heart and soul to raise funds for the flood victims in Pakistan." Actually, I think we should all be “working our heart and soul” to support and be in solidarity with these people. Here’s why: 1) there are millions of people suddenly in need. 2) we can ease their suffering and 3) this is a strategic region important for long term peace.