Army responds to flooding in Bangladesh

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bangladeshfloods4By Lt. Col. Alistair Venter – 

The Salvation Army in Bangladesh is providing assistance to those affected by flooding, particularly in the District of Sirajganj.

Heavy rainfall in late August caused flooding that forced many residents to relocate to higher elevation on roadsides and embankments. Others remain in their damaged or collapsed homes.

Since 75 percent of Bangladesh is less than 10 meters above sea level, the country is prone to flooding. Many are surviving with limited food and no jobs, shelter or medical facilities.

A local NGO in Sirajganj called Balaka made an appeal to Salvation Army leadership for assistance. The Army sent a four-person assessment team on September 16 to the communities of Belkuchi, Chowhali and Shahjadpur. The Army then compiled 950 food packets containing rice, oil, salt, flour and pulses that training officers and cadets purchased from a market in Dhaka. On September 29, they unloaded the food packets into a secure warehouse in Shahjadpur Upazila, with help from representatives from Balaka.

The following day, victims from across the district went to the warehouse to receive their relief supplies. The Salvation Army team received assistance from volunteers and the police, including the officer in charge of the local police station. Other local leaders also took part in the distribution.

The 950 packets were distributed within four hours. It was especially helpful for Muslims in the area preparing for the festival of Eid and members of the Hindu community setting up to celebrate Durga Puja.

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