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When waters rise: relief for flooded Bangladesh villages

News reports have suggested that Bangladesh has experienced its worst flooding in years. A grant from BMS World Mission has been approved to provide emergency food relief for hundreds in need

Thanks to the generous giving of BMS supporters, and the heart of Bangladeshi Christians who have mobilised to help those in need, an emergency BMS grant has been approved to sustain 200 families facing food insecurity due to flooding.

In July Bangladesh reportedly experienced its worst flooding in years, with tens of thousands of people having been displaced. Bangladesh’s monsoon season can often pose a flood risk to the low-lying country, where heavy rains see rivers swelling to dangerous levels. The erosion and bursting of riverbanks in recent weeks, coupled with adverse landslides, have left an estimated 4 million people at risk of “food insecurity and disease”.

BMS has provided several grants for flood relief, including after flooding in 2007, pictured here. While Bangladesh is known for its habitual flooding, more extreme flood events are a worrying trend.

The BMS Disaster Recovery fund allows local Christians and trusted partners to mobilise when disasters like these strike. Because of generous past giving from BMS supporters, a £5,000 grant was swiftly approved, allowing quick-thinking Bangladeshi Christians to jump into action.

The BMS grant will fund a programme of food distribution for 200 families from three different communities: the Sreemongal, Manikgonj and Shirajgonj communities. Led by the Bangladesh Baptist Church Sangha (BBCS), the food packages will be distributed from local church centres by pastors. They contain rice, salt, dhal  (a staple Bangladeshi dish made of lentils or other split pulses), sugar, oil, chira (a flat rice that is easy to prepare and digest) and waterproof matches, sustaining around 800 people for a week and a half – some of whom have not eaten in days.

“The families come from varying religious backgrounds, but are known to the Bangladeshi churches which are distributing aid,” explain BMS workers Louise and Peter Lynch, who work closely with the BBCS. “There are pastors on the ground who can assess what needs to happen,” says Peter. “There are people without any food because they’ve got nothing left. But the BBCS can go out and get food for the programme, knowing support is backed up by BMS.”

These concerning images have come from the Sreemongal, Manikgonj and Shirajgonj communities which the BBCS is now able to help.

If you’ve given to BMS’ Disaster Recovery fund, you’ve not only supported Bangladeshi families after dangerous floods. You’ve also provided vital psychosocial first aid to victims of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, shored up a hospital during hurricane season in Haiti, and much more. Thank you for all you’ve done.

Christians believe in a God whose Son walked on water. So when floodwaters rise, we can trust in his power, goodness and might. Join us in praying for:
  • Bangladeshi communities in danger or at risk of disease because of flooding, that they would be kept safe.
  • Those who are hungry, that food would be provided. Pray especially for those receiving food through the BMS grant, that it would reach those who need it most.
  • BMS workers Peter and Louise Lynch, the Bangladesh Baptist Church Sangha, and the pastors who have been able to help families after the floods. Give thanks for their generous hearts, and pray for wisdom and strength to know how to best help those in need.

This story was originally published on the BMS World Mission website and is used with permission.

BMS World Mission, 19/08/2019
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