By Formosa Relief Team (Originally in Chinese)
On June 13, 2017, heavy monsoon rains caused some of the worst landslides in Bangladesh history. Continued torrential rains on June 14 and 15 caused more landslides. Thousands of homes were buried in the disaster, 156 people lost their lives, and 1,300 families were displaced.
Following Supreme Master Ching Hai’s loving instruction to help those who need assistance, our Taipei Center in Formosa quickly formed a relief team that traveled to Bangladesh at the earliest possible date to help the victims, and brought with us US$14,000 contributed by Master.
Our team departed from Taipei on June 19, to Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. On the following day, we flew to the disaster area in the Chittagong District with a local Association member brother. In Chittagong, another Association member brother joined the team as well. He helped us contact those who were in charge of relief work in the disaster areas in advance so that we could converse with them and learn about the situations in the disaster areas. The former secretary of the Red Crescent Society Chittagong District Unit, Mr. Abdul Awal Chowdhury, provided us with information on the situations in the three most affected areas and the most urgently needed items for the victims.
On June 21, our relief team went to the supermarket early in the morning to buy relief materials. We then hired people to help package the items overnight. Each package included five kilograms of rice, one liter of cooking oil, one kilogram of beans, and five kilograms of potatoes.
On June 22, we first loaded relief supplies and then went to Rangunia in Chittagong under the guidance of the Red Crescent Society. Many of the disaster victims helped us move the relief supplies to the office of the elder, the representative of the local citizens. Since a celebration ceremony was going to be held that day for an Islamic holiday, we asked the elder to help us distribute the relief items – a total of 300 relief packages.
On June 23, we went to a place in Bandarban District where local people usually congregate. The representatives of the Red Crescent Society helped to inform the local disaster victims to gather at this place, made a list of the victims and handed each person a nametag so that they could receive the relief items one by one. We distributed a total of 400 relief packages, one for each family. The representatives of Red Crescent Society told the disaster victims that The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association came to help them and distribute the relief supplies.
Rangamati was the most affected disaster area. All the roads were closed and supplies could only be transported by water. In addition, we had to wait for permission to enter the area because of government restrictions on non-locals going to affected sites. Since the relief team still had not received a notice of the approval of the permit by June 24, we decided to request two of our local Association members to distribute 1,000 relief packages, each containing five kilograms of rice, one liter of cooking oil, one kilogram of beans, five kilograms of potatoes, and one kilogram of salt.
Because the disaster situation was very serious in Rangamati, the government could only make arrangements to have the relief supplies transported by vessel to a place that was safe and accessible by water. Our two local Association members distributed the relief items in the area that were most difficult to carry out the relief work. Those who were experiencing hardship all shed tears of joy when they received the supplies. Seeing the disaster victims bathing in the love of God, we felt infinite gratitude in our hearts. After this relief work, other international disaster relief organizations started arriving in the affected areas.
We sincerely hope that the people of Bangladesh can return to normal life as soon as possible, and live and work in peace and happiness. We thank Master for giving us this opportunity to help and learn the lesson of love.
Expenditures by The Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Association for Landslide Relief Work in Bangladesh
|Relief supplies (rice, beans, oil, salt, and potatoes)||1,197,500||A|
|Packaging and labor||84,750||C|
Our Formosa Association members and relief team contributed about US$3,659 to cover travel, food and lodging expenses of the relief team
Relief Work in Chittagong City – June 20 to 21, 2017
Relief Work in Rangunia, Chittagong District – June 22, 2107
Relief Work in Bandarban District – June 23, 2107
Relief Work in Rangamati – – June 24, 2107