More than a week after Cyclone Aila struck, reports continue to come out of Bangladesh about the ongoing humanitarian crisis there. The cyclone, which struck on May 25, has killed at least 237 people and left tens of thousands of others homeless. According to Heather Blackwell, Oxfam's Bangladesh representative, "It's an emerging humanitarian crisis. And its getting worse every day." At the same time, Bangladesh, a nation of just under 154 million people, is in a precarious position in that most of its geographic area is at or just above sea level and, with the all too frequent cyclones and the perennial monsoons, the people of Bangladesh are in a precarious position on an ongoing basis.
Meanwhile, some current reports indicate that thousands of people still do not have access to food or water, although it has been approximately a week since the severe weather system devastated the land. In addition, fishermen and farmers will face difficulties for some time to come as the coastal regions are heavily damaged and salt water seeped into coastal area farmland.
Another area of concern is disease and water-born illnesses. Indeed, there have already been several deaths due to diarrhea from contaminated supplies. As Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, it is the moral responsibility of the rich countries to help in these sorts of devastating situations. This being the case, many are providing aid, including the U.S., but it does not appear to be a sufficient amount to meet the widespread and immediately critical need. Therefore, people might wish to consider contacting their government representatives to request that additional funding be allocated for Bangladesh during these difficult times. In addition, they can check about whichever charitable agencies are offering help and offer a donation if possible.
Brian McAfee is a social policy writer living in Michigan, USA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.