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Ongoing rehabilitation a must in cyclone-prone Bangladesh

ucanews.com staff and reporter, Dhaka, Khulna

ucanews.com staff and reporter, Dhaka, Khulna

Updated: November 25, 2010 06:41 AM GMT
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A family in Bangladesh wades through water alongside their demolished house following Cyclone Aila
A family in Bangladesh wades through water alongside their demolished house following Cyclone Aila
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Several years after two massive cyclones ripped through Bangladesh’s southern coastal region, Church officials say more still needs to be done to help affected people live a normal life. Amar Boiragi, a Caritas worker, recalls the horrors of Cyclone Sidr that hit Bangladesh three years ago. “Many fishermen lost their boats and nets, farmers had their crops destroyed and lands flooded while day laborers experienced the worst conditions,” he said. “After Sidr, I received housing assistance, but it was wiped away by Aila, another cyclone,” added Atul Mondol, a landless farmer. Muslim day laborer Kasem Boyati laments the disaster’s aftermath, saying finding work became harder. Church officials say a lot still remains to be done to help people like  Mondol and Boyati return to their normal lives years. “They still need vital rehabilitation support…most NGOs have no more funds for cyclone projects, so only the government can continue working for these people,” said Mithu Sarker, Caritas Khulna Disaster Management and Development  program officer.
A Bangladesh village  devastated by a cyclone
Sarker adds Church agencies and Christian organizations also offered support to cyclone victims. However, lack of monitoring saw some people receiving substantially more aid than others. Sidr, one of the strongest cyclones to hit Bangladesh, ravaged the coastal region on Nov. 15, 2007. Save the Children and the Red Crescent Society estimated the fatalities to be up to 10,000. International groups pledged US$ 95 million to repair the damage estimated at US$ 1.7 billion. Aila, another powerful cyclone, damaged the coast on May 25, 2009, killing over 300 and injuring thousands, with damages totaling US$ 40.7 million. To recover from the disaster, Caritas has implemented various rehabilitation programs worth US$3.25 million in Khulna and US$8.30 million in Barisal regions, which are disaster-prone areas, where 220 cyclone centers have also been built. Meanwhile, local media criticized the government’s cyclone rehabilitation project’s slow progress. A World Bank-financed US$ 109 million project to build 300 more cyclone centers moves lethargically as the government called for tenders only after three years. Some other reconstruction projects worth millions of US dollars for dams and infrastructure also remain in the planning stage. Related reports Bangladesh’s battle with a hostile world Church aid continues for cyclone victims ´Country´s climate-fund demands too low´ BA12140.1629

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