Village Horror

    By UWT Representative, Yusuf Patel, South Bangladesh - Wed, 26 Dec 2007

    After travelling 5 KM in a speed boat across river Bishkal from Boroytala, we arrive at the isolated village South Tetul Baria. The area is in a total mess and the village has been ransacked. The colour of the trees has turned pale and their barks have been stripped off. Four of the five mosques have been destroyed and all the water ponds have been infected. More than 300 homes were destroyed and up to 30 people were martyred. Until our arrival, no aid had yet reached the village and nor were they pre-warned about the cyclone.

    The village has no flood shelter and many took refuge by hanging on to tree branches. Nargis, a local woman described how the water sped through the village, gushing in and out up to 20 feet high and destroying everything. She hung unto her child and took refuge in a tree. Not everyone was able to do the same. She saw a woman trying desperately to cling unto her child but the force of the waves overtook her child and swept them away. Will the mother ever rejoice again?

    The story of Helinah Begum brought tears to our eyes and rattled our hearts. Most of all, her patience and gratitude of the Almighty was a sign of unity, cooperation and pain sharing within the village. Everyone had lost their loved ones or had been affected in one way or another. Helinah describes the moment when the tidal wave forced the roof of her shed-house unto her eight year old child who died in front of her eyes. Subsequently, her forehead was injured and she showed us the injury sustained by her hand when trying to uphold the roof. She tried her utmost best to protect and save her child but was unable to do so. Will she ever rejoice again?

    Everyone had a story to tell. Some would describe the number of people dead in their family or the velocity and ferocity of the wave. Others showed us the location of the mass graves whilst some cried in tears for being unable to locate corpses. There were those who tried to take refuge in boats and ships but were thrown overboard and drowned.

    The village is ruined. There remain broken homes, infected lakes, uprooted trees, mass graves, razed mosques, wrecked boats, traumatized people and broken hearts. The village was silent in horror as people continued to remember the tragedy. Ummah Welfare Trust in conjunction with Muslim Welfare Institute intends to initiate long term reconstruction, sanitation, forestation, and income generating projects to relieve the suffering of these innocent humble kind people.

    This is what we saw a month after the disaster. We cannot imagine how the scene would have been on the day. Colleagues Shaykh Ilyas and Shaykh Shafiqurrahman of the MWI discuss how the Ummah is reminded again and again of the power of the Almighty and it is for every individual to reflect upon his life and rectify it accordingly.

    Helinah
    Helinah
    Helinahs Scarred Hands
    Helinah's Scarred Hand

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