PADUCAH, KY (June 2, 2009) – Over the course of their four-year friendship, pastors Brad Henson and Mike Rothwell realized that their congregations held the same values and goals. They began to believe their two churches should merge.

Post a Comment » Written on June 2nd, 2009     
Filed under: News
BANGLADESH (June 2, 2009) – Covenant World Relief (CWR) is partnering with two international relief agencies to provide assistance to an estimated 500,000 people left homeless in the wake of Cyclone Aila that devastated areas of both Bangladesh and Eastern India last week.

A special Cyclone Aila Relief Fund has been established by CWR to receive donations from those interested in assisting in the relief and recovery efforts, notes David Husby, CWR director. The storm killed more than 200 people, with local authorities fearing the death toll will climb even higher.

Kids“Bangladesh is susceptible to very destructive cyclones,” says Husby, who is personally familiar with the hardest-hit areas. “Because the country is largely a delta, there is very little high ground for people to escape the terrible flooding that comes with the cyclones. During the monsoon seasons most of the country is covered in water. It is the poor who suffer the most from the flooding.”

The storm flattened the mud houses, uprooted trees, and forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people. “The situation is very grave – countless families have been displaced, especially in the Sundarbans,” says Kanti Ganguly, state minister for the Sundarbans, in a Reuters news agency report.

“The damages of this cyclone cannot compare with any other previous cyclone,” reports one observer, Milton Bhai, who weathered the storm and has been providing updates to Husby. “Its effects are all over the country. Even till last night we could not reach the remote areas, because road has been washed out, bridges been washed out, embankments broken in many places.

“There is no food, no water,” Bhai continues. “In adjoining 16 districts of the coastal area, people have lost everything. Seawater still coming in through the broken embankments. No fresh water sources left undamaged. People have just finished the harvest of last rice crop. They lost everything. Livestock’s just vanished.”

FloodingHe concludes his update with a plea for assistance. “I am trying to organize a relief program, collecting gifts from believers to help the affected believers. I don’t know how much we can do. Our supervisors are organizing this effort. I know whatever we collect that will be very little.

“I am asking for your help. A good relief program will help us in many ways. Please pray for us and try to help us. The situation I am seeing here is hopeless. The damages are so big, we could not do much. Our people are poor and every one has needs.”

Bangladesh is one of those places that seems so far away to many in the West, Husby observes, which presents a challenge in trying to encourage financial support for relief and reconstruction efforts. “The majority of the people are among the poorest of the poor.”

Donations should be designated for Cyclone Aila Relief and directed to Covenant World Relief, 5101 N. Francisco Avenue, Chicago, Il, 60625. All gifts will be acknowledged for income tax purposes.

Editor’s note: the accompanying graphic images were provided by Milton Bhai, taken from newspaper reports. The children in the top photo are waiting for the arrival of emergency food supplies – they had not eaten since the onslaught of the storm.

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