Displaying items by tag: Bangladesh
The worst April heatwave in Asian history is causing deaths and forcing schools to close. Temperatures of over 40C in Bangladesh have caused road surfaces to melt, and if the heat does not abate the ministry of environment will declare a temperature emergency. Six cities in India recorded temperatures above 44C. India has become particularly vulnerable to extreme heat recently; experts fear 2023 could be even worse. As temperatures and humidity soar, causing an orange severe heatwave warning, rural workers and labourers are forced to work outside. Weekend thunderstorms could abate conditions, but extreme heat is projected to continue into next week. Thailand has issued heatstroke health warnings and the high temperatures could continue beyond the usual summer months, causing drought and crop failure. China reported record-breaking temperatures for April in many locations, and over a dozen countries are experiencing similar problems. The death toll is expected to rise. Pray for the frail and elderly to drink enough fluids, including in the UK as meteorologists forecast an even hotter summer for us than in 2022.
Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. Bangladesh was part of Pakistan until its independence in 1971. Islam is the official religion, and the government propagates Islam with financial assistance to mosques and by organising Imams’ training. 89% of the population is Muslim. The Christian population is a fraction of 1%, facing persecution from Muslim communities and ISIS. Christians meet in underground house churches. In the early 1800s, William Carey ministered to the Bengali and translated the New Testament into their language. Today, indigenous missionaries effectively continue the work of evangelism and discipleship. Missionary support and funding is their greatest need for discipleship and training programs. Missionaries also engage in compassionate outreach, including providing education to poor Muslim and Christian children, running feeding centres that provide nourishment to hundreds of children, and sheltering orphaned or abandoned children.
On 4 June an explosion and deadly fire rocked the Bangladeshi port city of Chittagong, with fifty official casualties, but five days later hundreds were still missing. Firefighters responded to the blaze but used water on incorrectly labelled hydrogen peroxide, causing further explosions that killed some firefighters and people in the streets. Debris from the explosion landed a third of a mile away, and the impact shattered windows 1.5 miles away. See In early June Northern Bangladesh saw the worst flooding in two decades, and it is not yet the monsoon season. Millions have been stranded after villages and cities were inundated. Millions more remain without electricity or clean water. The situation might worsen if water-borne illness begins spreading. The deluge has forced 90,000 people into shelters. 270 camps have been set up until the water subsides, but it is still difficult to get to these camps. Four hundred miles of strategic highways are under water, preventing first responders from reaching people.
Everyone in Pastor Martin’s community on the coast of Bangladesh is painfully aware of climate change as they suffer an increasing number of extreme storms, losing possessions and evacuating to temporary shelters. The vulnerable, the elderly and children suffer the most. People also lose their crops so they no longer have food to put on the table, but Pastor Martin is helping them take steps towards a better future. World Concern Bangladesh showed him how to prepare for disasters and lead disaster response efforts. He set up a community group to prepare for and respond to disasters. During recent floods, Pastor Martin’s community group pooled resources to deliver food and essential supplies locally and far beyond to eight local villages and 10,000 people. His church has now been renovated to be used as a shelter during cyclones and a relief hub.
A humanitarian crisis is deepening in South Asia as new figures reveal that over 9.6 million people have been affected by monsoon floods, devastating large areas of India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Pray for the millions of people marooned in their homes, with crops destroyed by the worst floods in recent years. This year’s monsoon has come at the height of a deadly global pandemic. Tragically, already 550 people have lost their lives. Close to one third of Bangladesh has already been flooded, with forecasts of worse flooding in the coming days. Pray for God's comfort to be over those living in fear of worsening weather and deadly pandemic enemy. Pray for those mourning the death of friends and family killed by landslides, drowning and sickness. Pray also for the aid agencies and the various ministries of disaster management to have clear communication strategies to work in united support of the vulnerable.
Relief and recovery after Cyclone Amphan displaces 3 million in Bangladesh and India
Super Cyclone Amphan, the "strongest storm ever recorded over the Bay of Bengal, hit the border of India and Bangladesh straight like an arrow last Wednesday. Thankfully, Indian and Bangladesh governments had been quick to evacuate some 3 million people to cyclone shelters before the storm made landfall, helping save many lives.
As of May 23rd, the death count was at least 95, around 25 are from Bangladesh and 70 from India. Not discounting the lives that were lost, we are thankful that this super cyclone did not claim hundreds of thousands as is the case with Cyclone Bholo, to which its potential havoc had been compared earlier.
However, despite this win, the cyclone did not depart without first destroying homes, sources of livelihood, and other properties.
In Bangladesh and India, around 2 million and 1 million were evacuated, respectively, amidst the challenges of physical distancing and other precautions that needed to be observed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bangladesh has 30,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases while India has more than 125,000.
Nevertheless, this tragedy is not yet over. Millions of evacuees are now in make-do communal shelters where physical distancing and hygiene protocols may be compromised. Not to mention, sources of food and provision have been disrupted and damaged.
Agriculture and fishing account for almost half of the jobs in Bangladesh and support more than 70% of the population, according to the Asian Development Bank.
A team from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has conducted a Rapid Needs Assessment. Early findings suggest damage to fisheries especially to smallholder shrimp farmers. Thankfully, most crops had been harvested before the cyclone hit.
Let us pray for the efficient and sufficient deployment of relief for all affected families especially the refugees and most vulnerable among them.
Let us also lift up the UN World Food Program, the Bangladesh and Indian governments, and other humanitarian organizations that are in the position to reach these displaced families with aid.
Bangladesh has long known its needs to improve its defences from storm surges like Amphan as these can damage livelihoods in rural areas where more than 80% of its poor live.
In fact, the Bangladesh government started raising funds for its Delta Plan 2100, an eight-decade program that hopes to strengthen its climate resilience, and which had been approved in 2018. Almost a third of Delta's first-phase budget "is earmarked for 23 coastal projects to prevent flooding, including land reclamation and building islands and polders."
However, “The government will have to prioritize the immediate response and recovery effort over longer-term development projects," according to an Asia analyst.
According to Shamsul Alam, the lead author of the Delta Plan, “The coronavirus is one truth we’re facing now and climate change is another,” he said. “We need to handle these two issues in a combined way."
Please pray for the 3 million or more displaced individuals. Many of them are refugees and do not have anyone else they can turn to for help. Pray for hope, healing from trauma, and for God to provide for their every need.
Pray for protection from the spread of the coronavirus. Pray as well for God's intervention for both short- and long-term problems that Bangladesh and India are facing.
Pray for the witness of the Holy Spirit especially to those who are in most need of Him. Pray for opportunities for the gospel to be preached and lives to be touched by God.
Super Cyclone Amphan, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal, has devastated Bangladesh and India with sustained winds of 165 mph - equivalent to a category 5 hurricane. Up to 300,000 people in coastal areas are in immediate danger from deadly storm surges and flooding. Thousands are homeless. India’s worst damage is in West Bengal's coastal districts that were ‘pulverised’. Nearly every coastal district in Bangladesh was damaged. Evacuations across the region were complicated by the pandemic, as authorities tried to maintain social distancing rules. Pray for the thousands left homeless as Amphan heaps misery on coronavirus-hit communities, particularly the 14 million in Kolkata - situated in its direct path. Pray for those in mourning, the injured, and those clearing debris from impassable roads, rescuing flood victims and organising aid as heavy rains continue to fall on hard-hit areas.
Cox’s Bazaar is the largest refugee settlement on earth. One million Rohingya refugees, half of whom are children, have been cramped together in these camps since 2017, after they were forced to flee their homes in Myanmar to escape horrific violence. Now they face yet another threat to their lives with Coronavirus. The potential death toll is unimaginable in the densely packed camps. Social distancing is not an option. Refugees live in cramped conditions in makeshift bamboo and tarpaulin shelters. Access to clean water is severely limited, so the hygienic practice of regular hand-washing is almost impossible to achieve. The government and food distribution agencies are developing new ways to distribute food that minimise person-to-person contact. Rohingya volunteers are educating camp communities about the importance of hand-washing. Pray for good communication between the agencies focused on essential healthcare and food distribution to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Rohingya pastor, Taher, and his 14-year-old daughter were abducted from Bangladesh Cox’s Bazar a refugee camp after 59 men attacked 22 Christian families, beating residents, vandalising homes, and looting property. At least 12 Christian refugees were injured and hospitalised and a makeshift Christian church and school were smashed. Families were relocated to a UN transit centre and filed a police case against the armed ethnic group, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. Taher’s wife, Roshida, fears her husband is dead and that her daughter has been forced to convert to Islam. She said, ‘No one can give me clear information.’ Approximately 1,500 Rohingya Christians are among 700,000 predominantly Muslim Rohingya refugees who fled ‘ethnic cleansing’ in 2017. Authorities described the attack as a ‘law and order incident’ - not Christian persecution. They do little to protect Christians. One said, ‘if victims wanted safety they should ‘go to the moon.’
Philip saw members of his isolated tribal community in Bangladesh dying from simple diseases (malaria, diarrhoea, childbirth complications) because there was no medical care. ‘I asked God to open a door for our community because I could do nothing. I never thought that God would open the door through me!’ With help from Open Doors, Philip trained as a rural doctor and returned to his village to serve as a pastor and a doctor, providing medical help and supporting Christian families who were mocked and insulted in a traditionally Buddhist tribal community. ‘But now they have started respecting the Christians. They buy medicine from me and say good things about my service. I am building good relationships with them and telling them about Jesus Christ.’