Bangladesh (MNN) – Many eyes have turned to the United States as it begins the recovery process after being hit by two hurricanes. Meanwhile, Bangladesh is still being flooded by monsoon rains.
Forgotten rains, continued Flooding
“Middle of August, one day in particular, nearly the equivalent of a week’s worth of monsoon rain (so not just normal rain but monsoon rain) was dumped across parts of Bangladesh in just a couple of hours,” FMI’s Bruce Allen explains.
“It’s not just that there was this monsoon or like a hurricane for a week, but since June it has been raining. So, more than 51,000 people in Bangladesh have had to be relocated to emergency flood shelters.”
At least 145 people have died as a result of the rains reports The Guardian. Yet, despite the deaths, fewer people have died than in previous floods. For example, a great flood in 1988 killed nearly 2,400 people. The decline in deaths has been attributed to improved disaster risk reduction and education in the country.
Still, this doesn’t mean that Bangladesh isn’t hurting or that these monsoon rains and the flooding that follows aren’t causing pain.
“They have there the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, and they’re saying the flooding in Bangladesh is the most serious it’s been in 40 years — 700,000 homes [have been] either partially or totally destroyed,” Allen shares.
In one of the world’s poorest countries, livelihoods have been ruined. About a third to half of Bangladeshis are estimated to work in agriculture. But now, with their crops under water, the country is anticipating food shortages.
Medical needs, no help
There has also been rising concern about water borne diseases, which can spread rapidly. And because even under normal circumstances it can be hard to travel through Bangladesh, transportation in flooded areas is grinding to a halt, leaving many without medical attention or even supplies.
“We have on of our national leadership team, members who are part of the team of physicians and clinicians who share the Gospel through a mobile medical clinic. They go into various villages, they pay health care directly to the people where there is no doctor office or hospital,” Allen says.
“And…for the past two months, they have not been able to get to any villages. They’ve had to cease their operations. They think it will be October before they’re able to get to some of these places…to treat people who have these [water borne diseases].”
Challenges to ministry
This is just one way FMI partner ministries are being impacted by the monsoon rains. Many churches meet in a church member’s home because they do not have a church building. When these homes are flooded, entire churches no longer have a meeting place.
At the same time, Bangladesh’s Christians are presented with another way to minister in the face of disaster. How? *By showing and living out Christ’s love and compassion to their neighbors, regardless of religion, race, or ethnicity.
In fact, FMI partners are already trying to help their country people in the rebuilding process by helping teach them in using brick and mortar for their homes rather than mud. While mud is good for a dry climate, and it is usually cheaper, it washes away easily.
However, the rebuilding process is going to take months and possibly years. There’s the likely chance that by the time the people of Bangladesh have recovered from this rainy season, the Monsoon season will again be upon them.
Please pray for Bangladesh. Pray for the rains to stop, the waters to recede, and for a quick recovery. Also, pray for people to recover from illness.
And pray for Bangladeshi Christians to continue sharing the Gospel, along with Christ’s love and compassion in this hard time, and for people’s lives to be changed by this message. Pray for both the churches and their pastors to be able to meet, learn, and worship together as well as a recovery/buildings that can withstand future monsoon seasons.
Want to help in a tangible way? FMI’s “Tangible Resources” funds will be used to help pastors and congregations purchase building materials once the rebuilding process begins. The fund also helps provide emergency food and other physical needs.
Another way to help is to financially support a pastor/church planter. Find out how here!
*Please pray for an FMI partner who is praying with and for a Muslim family’s health. One of the family members is currently suffering from a serious disease and has no way to seek medical help. Pray for the neighbor to make a full recovery and for God to be glorified through it.