Just one month ago, Cyclone Sidr – one of the fiercest cyclones to hit Bangladesh in the last 131 years – slammed the country’s southern and southwestern regions. At least 3,300 people lost there lives and millions were left homeless. The United Nations estimates that 8.7 million people were affected by the storm and many remain dependent on food handouts and aid. While total pledges have reached 545 million dollars, the government has appealed for at least 2.2 billion.
According to World Bank Vice President for South Asia Praful C. Patel:
More is needed, more is deserved by Bangladesh in the way of international community support as the magnitude of the devastation is huge and the challenge of rebuilding the lives of the victims is formidable.
But as well as a devastating crisis, the cyclone has also brought about out a tremendous and inspirational humanitarian effort. The United Nations food agency has unveiled a $52 million, six-month plan to provide emergency aid and surgeons and physicians from around the world have been treating survivors. Our own marines and sailors rushed to help Bangladesh’s forces with large-scale emergency relief operations. They stayed into December bringing food, water, medicine, clothes and blankets to remote areas. Bangladesh army officials expressed thanks to our military for their efforts. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Lieutenant-General Masud Uddin Chowdhury as US troops departed:
You shall be leaving Bangladesh, but marks of your presence will remain in the sands of our coast and of course in the depth of hearts of millions of suffering humanity.
In these times when the media often focuses on reports of tragedy and despair, let us remember that so many continue working hard to help those around the world who need it most. International boundaries fade in the indomitable spirit of one world and together we find hope and renewal. Let us continue to show our support for victims of the cyclone and remember they still need our help.
Some links to offer donations: