In the Wake of Cyclone Amphan

Christian Aid and its local partners have been responding to Super Cyclone Amphan. The storm destroyed the homes of millions of poor people in coastal communities near the Bay of Bengal.

Winds reached 120mph, and waves 17ft.
Electricity lines and communications are down across affected regions. Communities must cope with both the aftermath of the storm and also the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Many communities in Bangladesh, including Cox’s Bazar (the world’s largest refugee camp) were urged to evacuate. Over 2.4 million people made the move according to official Bangladeshi government reports. The risk of Covid-19 transmission led to many people hesitating to leave early enough.

Christian Aid’s Bangladesh Country Director, Pankaj Kumar, said: “We are in a very challenging time. Many people are scared of catching Covid-19 and it has hampered our partners’ efforts to get people to safety.  Temporary shelters are having to practise social distancing, which is extremely difficult in an emergency evacuation situation.

“Many people are preferring to take shelter in a neighbour’s house or on higher land over the official shelters, especially as there are reports of shelters lacking sufficient facilities.

“Thankfully, community preparedness has led to minimum deaths, but Amphan has left huge devastation in its wake, with homes, communications, crops and livelihoods destroyed.  Approximately 80% tin-roofed homes in Satkira district have been blown away and families struggling to find water and food.

“We are also glad to report that initial reports indicate minimal damage to camps in Cox’s Bazar.

The region is experiencing an increased number of intense storms year on year. The poorest and most vulnerable are hit the hardest.  Many are still recovering their livelihoods from the previous Cyclone Bulbul, which affected 1.8m people and damaged 70,000 homes in November.”

Commitment for Life, in solidarity with Christian Aid and its partners support long-term programmes in these affected areas.  We have worked to prepare communities for disasters; we have established early warning systems.  Our partners in Satkira, Khulna and Cox’s Bazar support affected communities with shelter, food and hygiene kits. These include soap, masks and hand sanitizer.

Thank you for your ongoing support for Bangladesh through Commitment for Life. Our prayers, advocacy and sharing make an enormous difference to thousands of people in the region.

Commitment for Life is the Global Justice Programme of the United Reformed Church in the UK

kevin.snyman@urc.org.uk | 020 7520 2726 | suzanne.pearson@urc.org.uk | 020 7916 8638

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Picture credit: NASA from Unsplash