Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Floods ravage north and south districts
More than half a million residents face displacement and food shortagesTens of thousands have been stranded by flooding in Bangladesh (Photo by Abdul Khaleque)
- ucanews.com reporters, Dhaka, Kurigram and Bogra
- September 28, 2012
The Brahmaputra River and its tributaries have burst their banks in many places, due to unexpected heavy downpours over the past few days, said Chandranath Basak, director general of Disaster Management and Rehabilitation Ministry.
The subsequent flooding has seriously affected around 600,000 people in six districts in the north and south of the country, he said.
â€śDistrict administrators have told us that around 112,221 families have been hit. Moreover, river erosion in Kurigram district in the north has destroyed the homes of 1,835 families,â€ť Basak added.
Authorities say they have set up 50 temporary camps to offer shelter and food to flood victims, but are struggling to cope with the sheer number of people who have been affected.
Many flood victims said disaster relief has been slow in coming, while others are still waiting to receive aid.
â€śItâ€™s been days since we fled our home which has been inundated. We have yet to get aid from the government or NGOs,â€ť said Shariful Islam, 30, a farmer from Kurigram.
He said the flood not only destroyed his home and food stocks, but also destroyed his crops, the only source of food for his five-member family for the whole year.
Another flood victim, Tazul Mollah, from Bogra district has been stranded on the tin roof of his house with his family and cattle.
â€śWe have survived on puffed rice and itâ€™s almost finished. Neither we nor our cattle have any more food,â€ť he said.
District officials say they are doing everything they can to tackle the disaster, adding that thankfully there have been no flood-related death so far.
â€śWe are enlisting the help of flood victims and have food and money allocated by the Disaster Management Ministry. Our boats are out looking for stranded people in the area,â€ť said Kurigram deputy commissioner Habibur Rahman.
Azhar Ali, a Union Council chairman in Konibari, in Bogra district said people living by rivers are usually prepared for flooding but this time they were taken by surprise.
â€śPeople were caught unawares because they thought theÂ rainy season was over. Moreover, the crops they had growing in the fields are gone, which is a serious loss for them.â€ť
The monsoon season in Bangladesh usualy runs from June to mid-September.
Home to over 152 million people, Bangladesh is located on the worldâ€™s largest river delta system, with over 300 rivers that empty into the Bay of Bengal. It makes the country prone to frequent natural disasters such as floods, which kill hundreds every year.
Thousands still stranded by floods
Flooding death toll tops 100
Rains claim 67 lives, dozens missing