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Aid package worth more than $3m for Bangladesh

Aid package worth more than $3m for Bangladesh

An aid package worth more than NZD$3million (USD$2million) has been launched by World Vision Bangladesh to help more than 20,000 families whose homes were torn to shreds by Cyclone Sidr.

World Vision plans to assist 9,375 families who have lost their homes by providing tin sheeting. The sheeting will be dispatched to those living in existing World Vision programme areas in the worst affected part of the country.

A total of 125 World Vision staff and 700 volunteers are currently involved in the response, many of them local staff who live in the south.

World Vision Bangladesh National Director, Vince Edwards, has just returned from the disaster zone.

"Many poor families who have lost their homes are now living out in the open. We need to get bundles of tin sheeting to these families urgently so they can rebuild. We are going to focus our efforts on the worst affected – those who have completely lost their homes, female-headed households, the poor and those families who have children with disabilities.

"The scale of the devastation is enormous. It is very hard to get to some areas due to fallen trees. There is need wherever we look," he says.

The provision of tin sheeting will help people like 11-year-old Rika, whose home was smashed by high winds early in the morning of November 16. Rika, her sisters and their mother were sheltering with their father when the cyclone struck. Rika's father was suffering a fever after trying to batten down his home in heavy rain before the cyclone.

When Cyclone Sidr struck, their home was flung into nearby marshland.

"Deep in the night, when my mother was nursing my father, we were hearing terrible sounds of high winds," Rika says.

"Our house was taken away like a toy. We found it, but without a roof and wall. My father and mother started screaming, as we were too.

"What we need most is food and a place to live. It is hard to live under open sky. Who can we go to? Most other people here are in the same situation," she says.

The Bangladesh government now reports that at least 2,300 have been killed, while the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society says that figure could rise as high as 10,000.

In total, some 7 million people across Bangladesh have been affected by the cyclone, with a quarter of a million livestock killed and more than 142,000 acres of crops completely lost – amounting to 600,000 metric tons of rice. In the worst affected districts, more than 50 per cent of crops and trees were destroyed.

World Vision New Zealand is appealing to the public to help raise at least $300,000 for the people of Bangladesh. To donate, call 0800 90 5000.

ENDS

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