An inconvenient truth - urgency & cause for hope

From the outset of the flood, our local partners responded to what the IFRC called "one of the most serious humanitarian crises this region has seen in many years". You are almost certainly thinking of the tragic flooding that took place in Houston, which was widely featured on mainstream media.

The flood we were responding to however, dominated the Indian subcontinent for nearly a week, even before the rain in Texas began - a flood that has affected more than 41 million people across Bangladesh, India and Nepal. An area roughly the size of the UK was underwater.

Monsoon floods have affected millions in south Asia. But the world is still ignoring disasters that are happening more often and becoming more severe.
— The Guardian

In a moment of respite our Project Manager from SAFE, Apu Roy, was able to interview residents of Jogen Babu Maath slum in northwest Bangladesh about their experience during the disaster. One man recalled the shock and speed of the rising floodwaters,

... we did not have time to bring our clothes outside. When we saw how fast the water was coming into the rooms we started to pack our emergency stuff... during this time our JBM committee was helping people out. They tried to go to every house to ask if anyone needed help. They helped bring the children, the old and disabled people.

I saw the water coming to my house very fast and making very big sounds. After a few minutes, the water was about 6ft high. Then I heard people starting to cry...
Interview with resident

Such events are intimately linked with climate change. These 'Black Swans' not only cause intense suffering and loss, but the long-term implications are felt far beyond. In Bangladesh, there is concern about food shortages and spread of disease in the coming months, as well as severe knock-on effects to the rice harvest and livelihoods over the coming year.

One woman we spoke with said she had never experienced anything like it,

... it took me more than 25 years to make my family self-dependent, but everything is gone and now I’m thinking how we can recover.

Another resident talked of the conditions in JBM, the aftermath and growing concerns,

In JBM, there are more than 7,000 people and now they are homeless... they are on the road, watching the destruction of the flood.

The water rose very high - at the danger line... they don’t have any place to live, no food, no clothes and no drinking water. I gave them some money - what I had at the time. I tried to communicate with the local primary school and the local high school for the victims to stay.

In the face of such adversity we appreciate the heroism, resiliency and care shown by our team on the ground, and the community committee in JBM. Our collective response, thus far, has led to the decontamination of 47 tubewells, the repair and opening of our recently completed WASH facility, and disinfection of people's homes and belongings.

With your help, we've been able to act swiftly and effectively to ensure access to clean drinking water and sanitation, as well as reduce the potential spread of disease - thank you

We know there is still much work to be done. Upcoming challenges include drainage, house repairs / rebuilding and road surfacing. If you would like to contribute to the further recovery of Jogen Babu Maath, please donate here >>

 Author: N. Ardaiz

APPEAL: Support those affected by devastating floods in Bangladesh

  • Last updated: 5 September 2017

Since 11 August 2017, heavy monsoon rains have caused intense flooding across more than one third of Bangladesh. India and Nepal have also witnessed unprecedented flooding. Latest figures show over 1,200 people have been killed, 1 million+ are displaced and 41 million are affected. Aid workers warn of severe food shortages, and water-borne diseases.

In Bangladesh, an estimated total of 101,683 houses are reported to have been destroyed and 619,834 have been partially damaged; 145 persons are known to have lost their lives due to the floods.
— United Nations

Many of the communities we support across Dinajpur, have been greatly affected. In particular, Jogen Babu Maath slum. The community was evacuated to a local school, as flood waters reached 7ft. Over the past couple of weeks waters have receded, leaving behind a wake of devastation. Debris lines the streets, earthen paths are mixed with sewerage, septic tanks are full leaving no usable toilets, and the tubewells are contaminated.

With the flood waters receding, there is a possibility of an epidemic. We fear the outbreak of water-borne diseases if clean water is not ensured soon.
— Bangladesh's Disaster Management Department

We are working to support these communities. Our first priority is access to clean water and sanitation. We are also aiding debris removal, including the open sewers as well as providing guidance and best practice for disinfection of homes and assets. We welcome donations, and have created a dedicated fund >>

AzuKo updates:

  • In JBM slum there are currently only a few working toilets - the majority of septic tanks and soakaways have been flooded. We have now emptied, disinfected and opened the sanitation and shower facility. This will remain open to the community, with no membership fee, during August and September.

We are:

  • Shock chlorinating 47 tubewells

  • Supporting the disinfection of homes and assets

  • Providing personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Distributing guidance for water, sanitation and hygiene practices for short-term and long-term

  • Working with the community and POCAA to develop pre-preparedness strategies for future extreme weather events

More rain is forecast, and the situation could deteriorate. We will be working with the Asia Arsenic Network (AAN), to assess water sources over the remaining monsoon period.

In Bangladesh alone, more than 13,000 cases of waterborne diseases including diarrhoea as well as respiratory infections have been reported in the affected areas over the past three weeks.
— IFRC (05.09.2017)

Opening ceremony in JBM slum

Our new sanitation and shower facility in Jogen Babu Maath slum is now complete. On behalf of the community committee (JBMC-50), AzuKo and our local partner SAFE we'd like everyone to join us in our celebrations.

We hope to share updates, and live stream the opening ceremony via Facebook and Twitter:

Follow the event online - like, comment, share, retweet!

Help us celebrate access to clean, fresh water, improved sanitation and dignified design.

A backdrop of yellow
  • Date: Friday, 4 August

  • Time: 4pm (Bangladesh time), 11am (UK time)

  • Location: Online via Facebook & Twitter

Visit the Facebook event page >>