Thousands homeless after cyclone slams Bangladesh

By November 20, 2007

Bangladesh (MNN) — The death toll from Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh could reach 10,000 once rescuers get to outlying islands. International aid organizations have promised
assistance to the tune of $25 million to get food and temporary shelter to the
survivors and help them plan for a future.

That's key, says Jacob Kramer with the Christian Reformed
World Relief Committee
. He says their
partner is working in Batakali, Galachipa and Kalapara, areas still reeling
from the storm's impact. "We've got to organize the supply lines, and a
lot of the roads are washed out. It's helping the people for today and for
tomorrow. Then, we will hope to respond in a stronger way with a distribution
of at least one month or two months. We will follow that up with looking at the
agricultural effects." 

The cyclone destroyed at least 600,000 tons of rice in the
fields. That is expected to make an
existing food shortage even worse. Agriculture officials estimate a shortfall of over 1.6 million tons this
season. Storm damage exacerbated the
damage caused by multiple floods in July-September.

Powerful storm surges washed away nearly 30 percent of the
country's shrimp farms, and the standing water will hamper preparations for
planting winter crops including wheat, potatoes and oil seeds.  

Kramer notes that this could well pave the way to ministry
later. "They are known to the
population as Christians who bring health care and who now, in their time of
need, are there again with food. That is a strong witness to the people both in
word and in deed. We pray that we will have good opportunity to show the love
of Christ."

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