Bangladesh (MNN) – While severe flooding has affected millions of lives in Southeast Asia over the past few months, Bangladesh has proven to be especially vulnerable.
(Photo courtesy of Sudipta Arka Das via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/dnJX9W)
Over 140 people have been killed and thousands of homes destroyed. On August 11, Bangladesh received nearly the equivalent of a week’s worth of rain during the summer monsoon season in a few hours. A third of the country is submerged, wreaking havoc on its vital farming economy.
“They make their house by mud, and when the flood came down, many, many houses broke down,” says Bony Baroi of Asian Access, an organization that develops Christian leaders throughout Asia. “So people initially, they’re now living on the street without any house….[The] rain is coming and they’re really, really helpless.
“The crops and vegetables and fish and all those things, really, really there is a big crisis, and mainly children are suffering a lot with the water diseases like diarrhea and other things.”
Almost half of Bangladeshis work in the agriculture industry, with rice being the single most important product. In many areas of the country, floods have completely destroyed the fields, paving the way for food shortages. Though the disaster has affected over eight million people, the response has not been adequate.
(Photo courtesy of Diariocritico de Venezuela via Flickr: https://goo.gl/aoHxRv)
That means much of the responsibility of providing relief has fallen on the body of Christ. Asian Access is working with churches around the country to provide food and medicine to those affected. Baroi says their impact extends much farther than temporary sustenance.
“God opened this situation so we can go in any villages and when we can give some gift, they can ask us, ‘Who are we?’ So we can say, OK, we are the Christian Church…and they’re really happy … and they say, ‘Oh, Christian people are a loving people.’”
And it is in times of tragedy that leadership is most important. Asian Access recently celebrated the graduation of their third leadership development class in Bangladesh. The next class has already finished orientation and can begin training soon. These trainings are available to pastors from across denominations.
Can you come alongside these vulnerable people at this time? Pray that God would provide the right resources and that he would lead people to Himself. Pray also for unity among the believers, and for strong leadership to grow out of these classes.
If you’d like to support Asian Access’ work financially, click here.