Back in Bangladesh: Again a cyclone – again a good team

by Dieter Schmidt,  2009/06/05

So here we are again, Dr. Markus Hohlweck and I, back in Bangladesh. At the end of 2007 we came here to help the victims of the cyclone “Sidr”. Now we are back in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, to arrange things with our partner organisation, Koinonia, and prepare the next steps of our aid programme for the victims of the recent cyclone “Aila”.

Setting out for Bangladesh from Kaufbeuren at the beginning of the week. Photo: humedica

This time Nancy Smith is with us, a nurse from Florida and heart and soul of our team. We got to know her on our last year’s missions for humedica in Haiti where she already was a great support for us.

Before we can leave for the area we are going to work in – it will take us approximately 10 hours by bus and ferry to get there – we will have to sort the 250 kilograms of medicines that we brought with us, complete our equipment and already get some information on the situation there.

In a video we saw what the cyclone „Aila“, which reached land a few days ago in the border area between India and Bangladesh, has left behind: not only destroyed and unroofed houses, yet also widespread floods – the source of so-called “waterborn diseases” i.e. diseases caused by (dirty) water.

Often, these are skin diseases, diarrhoea, fever, sickness, but also infected wounds, bronchitis, pneumonias, various infections etc. that aggravate the already difficult situation of survivors even more. And in fact, the first reports about deaths caused by diarrhoea have already reached us. Lives which, through adequate medical treatment, could probably have been saved.

Dr. Markus Hohlweck, an internist from Bonn, had already been on mission in Bangladesh with humedica in 2007. Photo: humedica/Dieter Schmidt

. Yet even when medical care has been provided and the disaster has long since disappeared from the European media, life has to go on in Bangladesh – and poses a new challenge for the local people: life without food and clean water.

Since the salt water floods left behind mud where once corn had grown and empty spaces where once cattle had grazed.

And still, there are inaccessible areas marooned by water, where the victims of the cyclone have to sleep outside, without a roof over their head. The rain has continued for the past few days.

We are curious to see what awaits us tomorrow, when we will set out for the area of Shyamnager, in the deep southwest of Bangladesh, close to the border of India – the area where “Aila” reached land.

humedica is urgently appealing for donations in order to provide emergency help in Bangladesh.

humedica e. V.
Reference "Cyclone help AILA"
Account 47 47
Bank code 734 500 00
Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Donations can also be made online for the treatment of the survivors of this devastating storm. Thank you very much for supporting us in any way.

Dieter Schmidt, author of this article, coordinates humedica’s current mission in Bangladesh. Photo: humedica

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