ASIA/BANGLADESH - Thousands of families need urgent help: Caritas Internationalis collects funds in aid of flood victims in Bangladesh

Tuesday, 27 July 2004

Dhaka (Fides Service) - Food and medical supplies must be provided for hundreds of thousands of flood victims in Bangladesh to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and epidemics of disease. Caritas Internationalis warns as it launches an appeal to collect two million dollars to help people in Bangladesh affected by the worst floods in years. The lives of millions of people have been destroyed - Caritas says - they have been robbed of their homes, fields, livelihood: they have no food, water, medical assistance. They need help immediately.
Caritas Internationalis, is a confederation of 162 Catholic aid agencies operating in 200 different countries. Caritas workers are already distributing aid to some 25,000 families in Bangladesh. Caritas has also prepared a programme, to start immediately the rains are over, to rebuild homes for 5,500 families.
Floods in the area also affected India, Nepal and Bhutan. The heavy rains began in June causing rivers to overflow and flood vast areas submerging villages and fields.
In Bangladesh at least 285 people have died because of the floods, tens of thousands are missing, hundreds of thousands of homeless people are living in camps and 72,000 are in danger of contracting flood related diseases
Every year in the monsoon season Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries, is struck by cyclones and floods with serious damage to homes, infrastructures and crops. These natural disasters aggravate extremely difficult living conditions here. In the United Nations latest Report on Development, Bangladesh is number 138 on a list of 177.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 27/7/2004 lines 32 words 345)