It Gets Worse

    Press Release
    UWT & MWI Delegation In Bangladesh (Part 2)

    Tues, 25th Dec 2007

    It Gets Worse

    By UWT Representative, Yusuf Patel, South Bangladesh

    The situation is much worse. The closer we get to the ocean, the greater the damage. We drive hundreds of kilometers through the jungles and rivers to deliver aid to Mirzaganj village in Gorkhali district. We have a bumpy ride as the roads are severely damaged. Wherever we see, trees are crippled and there is total destruction. The village is five KM away from the ocean and words simply cannot describe the catastrophe. The Mosque has vanished, and all but one home have been swept away.

    We meet some of the local residents and their narratives shock us all. 70 years old Abdul Lateef Shiddar and his wife live on high ground and saw the waves approaching. They called out to the surrounding people as they decided they would either die together or live together. He says, “The water waves were very fast and there was a light and shine in the sky”, possibly referring to lightening. Reports suggest the speed of the waves exceeded 260 KM/H and the water level rose by 28 feet in this village.

    60 years old Abdul Mannan, his 50 year old wife Salihah and their 12 year old grandson were unaware of the cyclone until the tidal wave reached their home. There was virtually no chance of them surviving but the Almighty had decided otherwise. The water forced them up and they clung to a tree from 9 PM for a few hours until the water started to retreat back to the ocean.

    Mr. Abdul Mannan’s livelihood is destroyed. His fishery items, and 25,000 Taka worth vegetation has been destroyed. He is particularly worried as his crops will take another year to yield. Both the Ummah Welfare Trust in conjunction with Muslim Welfare Institute have intended to provide long term income generating projects such as fishing nets and animals along with various water, sanitation, and house reconstruction programs. There is also a program to amalgamate the shelter project and the mosque reconstruction project into one by constructing a mosque on high pillars. The mosque would play a dual role.

    Residents of the village related that bodies of two young martyred brothers were found one mile away from the village after searching for 18 days. Nearby the village, we saw graves of the deceased martyrs and I could not digest the image and scene of burying 35 corpses in one day. The visit to this village was an eye opener and reflected the peak of poverty and patience side by side. Indeed, this cyclone is a reminder of the majesty of the almighty and there are many lessons in the signs of the Almighty for those who ponder.