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Caritas continues to aid thousands affected by floods in Bangladesh

The worst rains are over but situation remains desperate

Caritas continues to aid thousands affected by floods in Bangladesh

A village house in Munshiganj district of Bangladesh submerged in the recent flooding. About 2 million people have been affected in the flooding, says the government. (ucanews.com photo by Stephan Uttom) 

The Catholic Church's social service agency, Caritas, continues to offer aid to thousands of people affected by flooding in north and northwest Bangladesh.

"Floodwater has started to recede as rain has stopped but the suffering of affected people is not over," said Pintu William Gomes, senior manager of the disaster management department at Caritas. "People have lost their homes, crops and fish stocks, and they need substantial assistance to survive and rebuild their lives."

Starting Aug. 11, Caritas Bangladesh central office has distributed water and sanitation kits containing a basket, soaps, detergent, water purification tablets and oral saline worth 1,200 taka (US$16) and cash handouts of 4,000 taka (US$51) to 1,650 families among more than 8,000 people in several northern districts.

"Needs of people are different," said Gomes. "So we have offered them cash as emergency aid."

Caritas is assessing more people for rehabilitation and rebuilding assistance and hopes to offer them the necessary assistance by the end of the month, he said.

Earlier, Caritas Dinajpur regional office offered emergency food aid to 250 families and Caritas Dhaka regional office supplied food aid to 700 families among 4,750 people in central districts adjacent to the capital city.

Hosne Ara, 48, a mother of two from Kurigram district, one of the worst flood-hit areas, is one of the people who received Caritas aid.

"My husband and I are day laborers and we have been facing serious hardships," she said. "Flooding has washed away our house and forced us to live under open sky. There are no jobs in the area and my husband is trying hard to maintain the family with sporadic work. We will use a portion of money to buy food and the rest for reconstructing our house."

"There are many people like us who are starving without aid," she added. "They also need help to survive."

The floods, triggered by monsoon rain and a surge of water from upstream India, has submerged 20 districts and left 2 million people stranded since late July, according to the state-run Disaster Management Department.

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Some 80 people have died and 817,239 families have been affected by the flooding so far, according to the department's report.  

Ahmed Ali, 43, a farmer from Sirjaganj district has turned to pulling a rickshaw for a livelihood after losing his house and crops in the flooding. His family also received aid from Caritas.

"Since the floods inundated our home we have been living in the house of a relative," Jalil, 13, Ali's son told ucanews.com. "My father has given some aid money to our host family for food expenses, and we will take the rest of the money and materials with us when we return home."

"We are struggling for survival and my parents are really worried how to look after our five-member family," he said.


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