Disaster Beyond Comprehension

    Press Release
    UWT & MWI Delegation In Bangladesh (Part 1)

    Sun, 23 Dec 2007

    Disaster Beyond Comprehension

    By Yusuf Patel, UWT Representative, South Bangladesh

    Travel by Sea to Cyclone ZoneThe destruction and misery caused by cyclone Sidr in South Bangladesh is beyond human comprehension. The tidal wave gushed through 200 KM of mainland Bangladesh resulting in the death of thousands and millions have become homeless. Mosques have disappeared and trees remain uprooted. One can only understand the scale of the disaster by visiting the region.

    The first village we visited to distribute aid was Rajapur 50 KM away from the Bay of West Bengal. At first sight, I could not help but shed a few tears. They are such innocent humble people whom the Almighty had tested to elevate their status and rank. I tried my best to force a smile in accordance with Prophetic teachings as smiling is a form of charity. We came across a young lady Fatima, who was walking with her child when the tidal wave forced them to a tree and the child’s hands were stuck. She started to scream, 'Cut my hand and let me free' but to her mother's despair the wave swept the child away with the tree until the mother could no longer hear the cries. How must Fatima feel when she remembers these cries? However, Fatima is not the only one.

    Jamaluddin was walking through his village with his small daughter when the gushing waves separate the two. The daughter cries out, 'Abba, Abba please save me' but Abba is powerless. He cannot save the daughter. When Jamaluddin is aided with emergency relief he sheds tears accepting the fate of the Almighty but crying, 'My relief is my daughter'. In a neighboring village of Tafalbari, Sadiq lost his seven year old son and four year old daughter. There are thousands like Jamaluddin and Sadiq who are severely traumatised but remain helpless homeless people awaiting consolation.

    The story is endless, and the tears are insufficient. The Bangladeshi people face a great challenge of rebuilding their lives, homes and economy and we in the west could play a pivotal role in alleviating their suffering. The Ummah Welfare Trust (UWT) in conjunction with Muslim Welfare Institute (MWI) launched a half million pound emergency appeal immediately after the cyclone. A team comprising of myself, Shaykh Shafiqurrahman of the MWI, and Shaykh Elyas Desai of Preston were dispatched to overview the emergency distribution during the Eid ul-Adha occasion. We also inaugurated a water filter system and as with all disasters, our next challenge is to initiate long term projects and these include rebuilding homes, mosques, providing fishing nets for self reliance, provision of clean water and many other projects.

    For further details visit www.uwt.org or phone on 0845 6522 786 or 01274 374 396.