Bangladesh Cyclone 2009
Cyclone Ayla struck parts of coastal Bangladesh and eastern India on May 25th, killing more than 200 people and displacing millions. In Bangladesh alone, 190 people were killed and 750,000 were left homeless. While non-profit organizations and the government were trying to administer relief efforts, it was more than they could handle, especially in remote regions that were difficult to travel to due to roads being wiped out. Hidaya Foundation’s team in Bangladesh decided to focus its efforts on Satkhira, one such remote region and informed all other organizations and the government that it would distribute food packages to the desperate and remote people of this sub-district.
Rice and lentils (dal) were bought and packed onto 7 five-ton trucks and driven 30 km to a river that would lead to Satkhira. This part of the journey ended up taking 6 hours (normally a 2 hour drive) due to destroyed roads. At the river, the supplies were unloaded from the trucks onto boats, which had to travel an additional 45 km to reach the distribution point. While nearly 2/3 of the way to Satkhira, the tide went down on the river, and the team was forced to stop and wait 8 hours over night for the tide to rise. During the night, thieves ambushed the team, but Alhamdulillah (Praise to the Creator), local police and law enforcement were nearby and halted the attempt and our team continued on their mission.
One team member reached a day ahead of the rest of everybody else and proceeded to qualify and register families for receiving relief packages. Each family was given a token to be exchanged for supplies and ensure an efficient and orderly distribution. Alhamdulillah, Hidaya Foundation’s team was able to successfully distribute all supplies and 1,900 families were extremely thankful for the aid brought to them in their remote locality.
Each food package contained 25kg of rice and 3kg of lentils (daal) which could feed a family a five twice a day for 30 days.
A month after the cyclone hit, 350,000 victims are still living in temporary shelters. They are without adequate water, sanitation or livelihood while disease is becoming a serious problem.