Mission Aviation Fellowship still providing aid after Bangladesh cyclone Sidr

Published 20 December 2007
One month after cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh, Mission Aviation Fellowship is continuing to fly many aid agencies to the worst-hit areas to help those suffering the consequences of the devastation.

One flight took a team from LAMB's mission hospital to view the destruction and visit survivors in the area around Amtoli near the Pira River.

The full force of the cyclone hit the area, destroying many roads and buildings and making it even more difficult to bring help.

Travel by road from Dhaka to Amtoli normally takes fifteen to twenty hours. The flight with MAF took just 45 minutes.

In Titkhata, in the Amtoli area, the storm had severely damaged the rice crop, many trees had fallen down and several people had been killed.

One family lost four children when their home was washed away in a tidal wave. All the materials which they had for rebuilding had also been blown away in the storm.

LAMB's team leader said, "We were able to get them some warm blankets and we hope to be able to continue to work with them in trying to rebuild their lives.

"The problems of this family and the thousands of others in similar situations are going to be difficult to solve. Many will need help for the next five to six months."

On learning of the destruction to many schools, UNICEF ambassador and pop star Shakira travelled to Bangladesh. She flew with MAF to Mirzajong in the south, then to Rajshahi where she visited UNICEF programmes for children.

Speaking to Reuters, Shakira said, "The world should give a helping hand to rebuild schools in Bangladesh because schools are the only place where children can pass happy moments forgetting all their saddest parts of life."

After meeting with people whose lives have been destroyed, she said, "I will never forget the faces of mothers who lost their children and children who lost their parents."

On another flight, missionaries Will and Carol Smith travelled to Sarankhola to assess the needs and see how they could help. Theirs was the first visit anyone had made since the cyclone hit.

In the village of Chalrandha, many people shared with them how they had lost not only their homes but also family members.

Will and Carol are going to provide funding and the manpower to help build new homes, as well as bringing food supplies and rice seeds to replant the fields.

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