Association of Medical Doctors of ASIA, founded in 1984, Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC since 1995

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AMDA Activity Report: Cold-Wave Disaster Relief, Bangladesh

Publication date:2020-04-24
 
Chiaki Hashimoto Project Officer, AMDA Headquarters
 

Blanket donation


AMDA Bangladesh submitted a report on its emergency relief activities in response to a cold wave that hit Kurigram in the northern part of Bangladesh in January 2020. In collaboration with AFAD, a local NGO based in the region, AMDA Bangladesh provided assistance to impoverished communities from 31 January to 03 February.

Kurigram is located approximately 340 km from Dhaka, the capital, and is bordering with India. Along the border flows the world-famous Brahmaputra River which is known for frequent flood inundation. A large-scale flood is said to occur every few years to 10 years, and it is a fair assumption that the area is not easily accessible once such a calamity strikes.

The two organizations have worked together in the past and this project marked their third collaboration. At the time of the flood disaster in July 2019, I also worked on the frontline with a team of AFAD personnel. And it was during this project that I went around with AFAD Executive Director Ms. Sayda Yasmin to assess how people’s lives had been affected. What came to light was the fact that a cycle of negativity was taking a toll on the poor, the disabled, as well as on the households with small children and pregnant women.

In this region, men are usually the breadwinners who are mostly day labourers or farmers. Once they find themselves struggling to make ends meet after a disaster strikes, they go out of town to seek work in big cities. However, all too often those women and children who were left behind become even poorer as men stop sending money to them, let alone coming back.

AFAD, for that matter, is gaining firm trust from local municipalities in identifying such vulnerable groups and responding swiftly to their urgent needs. It is an immense pleasure for us to have been able to work with such a wonderful organization, and of course, for all the support we received from our donors, we are truly grateful. 

 

Message from AFAD Executive Director Ms. Sayda Yasmin:

About AFAD

“Since its foundation in 1998, our organization has been run by 37 staff and 50 disaster relief volunteers to assist the livelihood of women (including single mothers) and people with disabilities in Kurigram. Our target beneficiaries are 1,400 households spanning 16 districts in five regions.”
    

AFAD's Ms. Sayda Yasmin(right)

Interviewing a local child(July 2019)

 

A new type of disaster called “a cold wave”

“It is without a doubt that this new type of calamity called a cold wave has been added to the list of disasters in Kurigram in recent years. Besides flooding for which this part of the country is known, a cold wave triggered by climate change has been occurring almost every year, with this year’s being the harshest that lasted for about two months. People here, who are mostly farmers, had difficulty in making a living as they could not work outside. They had to endure the cold by lighting a fire by the roadside. Under such circumstances, we decided to seek assistance from AMDA through AMDA Bangladesh that also worked with us last year.”
 

Blanket donation

“At this donation campaign, we provided blankets to 500 households in total. Considering a normal size of a family in our locality, there is usually four to five children per household. Ideally, we hoped to provide one blanket to each member of the family. However, we decided to go ahead with one blanket per household as time had been the priority.”

“Our staff were joined by two AMDA Bangladesh members who travelled a long way to Kurigram to provide aid. Since people in these financially-challenged communities live in a humble shack built with bamboo and wood branches, the blankets we provided were very much welcomed as there was no means for them to keep themselves warm.”

“Kurigram is still in the process of recovery in the aftermath of the 2019 flooding. And although we had been planning to launch a major reconstruction initiative in April, it has been hampered by the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. I must also add one reason for the postponement is the lack of self-protective gear for our staff. Obtaining these items is not easy for us as we are not a medical organization. Still, we are ardently hoping to start working on our comprehensive livelihood assistance as soon as possible from which the communities can benefit.”
 

Blankets ready to be distributed

 

Past collaborations with AFAD

2019 Flood disaster relief (Kurigram)
2012 Flood disaster relief (Kurigram)


 
    •  Bangladesh
    •  2020
    •  ER & Reconstruction

 
 
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