Concern responding to urgent needs in Bangladesh after cyclone badly affects coastal communities

Hakim Para camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
Hakim Para camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: Kieran McConville.

Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide is working to urgently assist around 140,000 people who have been impacted by Cyclone Amphan, which severely damaged coastal areas of Bangladesh last week.

The cyclone killed 26 people in Bangladesh and left around 100,000 people with no homes, which were either washed away or they were forced to leave for safety reasons. 

Thousands of people are now living in water-logged conditions, affecting their ability to access fresh water or to re-enter their homes. They also now have limited access to food and income, as both aquaculture and agriculture have been heavily impacted. 

Due to COVID-19, local communities are also worried about potential long stays in the Government’s temporary storm shelters, according to Concern’s Bangladesh Country Director Hasina Rahman. 

“All people living here pre-cyclone Amphan were struggling due to COVID-19 but the super cyclone Amphan increased their sufferings and now many of them are either living in cyclone shelters or under open sky,” Ms Rahman said. 

“Although the government and NGOs worked to disinfect shelters and to provide additional shelters to enable people to observe social distancing, many people were reluctant to use them and were holding off until the last minute.” 

Distributions

Concern, with the help from the Start Network, is now working towards building and extending hygiene and clean-water facilities in nine coastal areas in order to prevent water-borne diseases such as cholera, E. coli and fevers, which are common after natural disaster such as cyclones. 

Along with local charity partner Rupantar, Concern plans to build a number of wells, toilets and handwashing facilities in public areas with large footfall. A number of ponds will also be disinfected so the communities can once again use the facilities. 

One thousand hygiene kits - which include soap, detergent, sanitary products for women and disposable face masks – will also be distributed to vulnerable people who are in most need. Thirty-five recently homeless families will also be provided with temporary shelter. 

Concern has been working in Bangladesh for 48 years. There are still roughly 40 million people living in poverty and 20 million extremely poor. Bangladesh’s geographical location, land characteristics, rivers and climate also make it very vulnerable to natural disasters. 

To support Concern’s work visit www.concern.net.  

ENDS 

For media queries or to organise an interview with a Concern spokesperson, contact Jason Kennedy, Media Relations Officer at Jason.Kennedy@concern.net.

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