Published: 00:00 GMT Daylight Time - Friday 12 June 2009
Christians affected as Cyclone Aila hits Bangladesh
Bangladeshi Christians leave the remains of their house
to search for food and shelter
Winds of up to 65 mph and massive tidal waves battered low-lying coastal areas, devastating villages and communities. River and flood-control embankments were destroyed, putting hundreds of coastal areas under up to eight feet of water; mud houses collapsed, while crops and fisheries were ruined by the inundation of salt water. It is estimated that 3 million Bangladeshis and 2 million Indians – at least half of them children – have been affected by the storm, which hit the area on 25 May 2009.
Thousands of people are struggling without food and water and are seeking shelter on the limited higher ground. Many are marooned and awaiting assistance, but stormy conditions, turbulent rivers and mudslides have hampered rescue efforts to the most devastated areas. There is increasing concern that salt water from the tidal surge following the cyclone may contaminate the rivers and groundwater used for drinking and farming. This happened in Burma following last year’s Cyclone Nargis, to lasting detrimental effect. Local disaster management teams have rescued more than 100,000 people and moved them to safer locations, but there is still much more to do.
A Christian couple stand in front of their home,
which was devastated by the cyclone
Many Christians have been severely affected by this cyclone. Churches have been destroyed and at least 1500 Christian families have been affected, losing homes, livestock, crops, access to work, food, clean water and sanitation. Bangladesh is a majority Muslim country meaning that Christians are therefore at risk of being neglected in the general aid distribution. Barnabas Aid is providing emergency relief in the form of cooking oil, rice, lentils, bread, medicine and clean water.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid, says, “There is an urgent need to provide clean water, food and medicine to our brothers and sisters affected by this disaster. We are initially assisting around 500 families, but the need is much greater.”
Will you help to sustain our Christian brothers and sisters by your prayers and gifts as they come to terms with the devastation left by the cyclone? Please send your donation to project 04-822 (Cyclone Aila, Bangladesh).
If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK (Please quote project reference 04-822).
If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for addresses of our regional offices (Please quote project reference 04-822).
- Pray for all those affected by the cyclone that they will be provided with shelter and safe drinking water and will soon be able to rebuild their lives.
- Pray that the Christians will be able to bring comfort to others in this time of difficulty.
- Pray for Barnabas Aid’s partners in Bangladesh who are distributing emergency aid, that the Lord Jesus will be a helping hand to the Christians affected by Cyclone Aila.