Flooding is not new to Bangladesh—monsoons are an annual occurrence. But the monsoons of 2016 are proving to be unendurable, which makes it all the more devastating for those who have been through flooding before. Children are the most vulnerable among the thousands now fighting for survival.
|Children in the mountain village of Shambhuganj, Bangladesh attempt to go to school through the dangerous flooded waters on a makeshift bamboo raft|
In the remote village of Shambhuganj located high in the northwest mountains of Bangladesh, where Conscience International has helped to spearhead the building and support of a school, community development programs, and health and sanitation systems, homes are disappearing into the mud, disease is again raising its ugly head, and children—determined to continue their education—have been dangerously attempting to get to school, riding on makeshift ‘boats’ made of bamboo logs on which a half dozen or more students cling as they paddle through the rising waters.
THIS HAS BEEN THE YEAR OF THE BIG ONE
No sooner have homes (dirt floor huts, really) been rebuilt from past destruction and newly settled, than the monsoons, this time of epidemic proportions, return—one heavily destructive flood approximately every fifth year, leaving nothing but water, mud, death and disease.
“People cannot afford beds and normally sleep on hard mud floors that are now under water,” says Richard Sarker, Conscience International Vice President of Programs and himself a native of Bangladesh. “Straw fences are two and three feet under water, there is no place to sleep, to cook meals, and when the water begins to recede, mud floors will collapse, wash away. Water-borne disease such as diarrhea and dysentery always follows the flood. Already, farmers who planted seed beds for the next crop have watched the seeds wash away. There is no opportunity for people to work, no income to feed their families now.”
You can help – please donate in any amount here or by mail earmarked for Bangladesh flooding victims to:
110 Mansell Circle, Suite 106
Roswell, GA USA 30075
Bangladesh is among the world’s poorest countries and Shambhuganj is one of the poorest villages in one of the poorest regions of the nation. The village is far from emergency help of the cities, and it is vanishing beneath the flood waters that have been rising since late July, forcing villagers to flee to higher ground and turning people into ecological refugees. Once the land is swallowed up by overwhelming rains, it is gone, along with homes and land to grow crops.
Children, those we support, are in particular danger. They have been thriving in their new school environment--until now. But due to the threat of drowning, water-borne disease, and other dangers (including potential snake bites) children are already suffering from malnutrition (nutritional food is scarce even in good times) and teachers have been urged to close the school while parents are encouraged to keep their children at home (if they still have one) until flooding recedes, damage is estimated, and help arrives.
But even at home there is no security—fresh, safe water, food, medicine and in some cases evacuation aid is needed now!
For more information about our work and support in Bangladesh please click on Happening Now and scroll through for Bangladesh articles.
|Conscience International aid worker carries refugee boy from boat to safety. Twelve-hour shifts are exhausting and aid workers often suffer from “compassion fatigue”|
The refugee crisis in Greece and Turkey is constantly in the news with Conscience International humanitarian aid workers on-site dealing with the needs of thousands who are fleeing war and disasters in their home countries. The conditions for workers, as well as the refugees, are often repressive as well; they work day and night in over-taxing situations without regret, but when these caregivers—volunteers and humanitarian aid staff—sometimes become themselves victims of burn-out and trauma, who is there to support them?
Recognizing the problem first-hand, Conscience International has begun sending counseling teams to impacted areas. Most recently, Dr. Vanessa Snyder, Dean of Clinical Affairs at Richmont Graduate University, Atlanta, and Dr. Lorrie Slater, Assistant Dean of Students, led a Conscience International team of “compassion fatigue” professionals to Lesbos, Greece where Conscience International has been working among refugees arriving by boat and raft from Turkey since September, 2015.
The mission—counseling and training humanitarian aid workers in coping skills, stress management, how to recognize the symptoms of trauma and to deal with it appropriately.
You can share in this ‘Compassion’ effort by donating in any amount to keep this program going. Please donate here or by mail earmarked for Greece Trauma Teams to:
110 Mansell Circle, Suite 106
Roswell, GA USA 30075 USA
For more information about our work in Greece, please click on Happening Now and scroll through for articles on Greece.