Monday, November 19, 2007

There, but for the grace of God, .....

We moan and groan, coz’ we never have it so bad. We cried for the messiah, we cried for the King ...

Then …

I read, no, no, not Malaysiakini but al Jazeera where I learnt that Bangladesh has had it again, from the elements or if you are religious, God.

The usual cyclone, this time at 240 km per hour, has thrashed poor Bangladesh. Victims currently run to 600 dead, with more expected. Thousands are still missing.

UPDATE 19 Nov 2007: 2300 confirmed dead ...

Massive evacuation of some 650,000 prior to the cyclone has at least saved many. But the post storm situation isn’t all that good, with homes and surrounding areas devastated. Electricity doesn’t exist for most.

What do the evacuees go home to?

What would be the health situation, given the appalling hygiene in water logged areas? What about clean drinking water.

It’s an accident of geography (or divine intention) that has placed poverty stricken Bangladesh in the path of a cyclone prone part of the globe.

In 1991 it was hit by Cyclone Gorky with winds of around 250 km per hour and accompanying 20 foot waves, killing at least 138,000 people and leaving as many as 10 million homeless.

But it was in 1970 that Bangladesh, or East Pakistan as it was then called, was hit by the world’s most deadly tropical cyclone ever recorded. It created one of the deadliest natural disasters of modern times.

500,000 people lost their lives, again as a result of the sea surge that flooded much of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta. The city of Tazumuddin was the most severely affected, with over 45% of the population of 167,000 killed by the storm.

The poor handling of the relief operations by the Pakistani government led to severe criticism by local (East Pakistani) political leaders. The opposition Awami League exploited the resentment and gained a landslide victory in the province.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the leader of the victorious Awami League, and went on to claim a majority victory in Parliament in that year’s elections.

But the thought of a Bengali assuming office as head of the government was too much for the Pashtun elite. Ketuanan Pashtu too!

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was blocked by the military from taking office. One thing led to another and Bangladesh was born, inheriting the devastating cyclones and the deaths they bring.

... We moan and groan, coz’ we never have it so bad. We cried for the messiah, we cried for the King, till we read about the poor Bangladeshis ... Maybe we should pause for a moment to help them in some ways.

… so Malaysian Pilgrims, dig deeeeep into your pockets and give generously to the Malaysian branch of the International Red Crescent or directly (online donation) to the International Red Cross & Red Crescent. However, make sure you tell them your donation is meant for the relief aid to Bangladesh.

Thank you for your kind charity.

1 comment:

  1. ktemoc...probably an inappropriate comment for such a noble post but check this out