14 December 2011
An innovative Tearfund partner scheme is aiming to get relief aid to disaster-hit families in Bangladesh faster.
The Blue Barrel Project will see cooking utensils, tarpaulins, first aid kits, mosquito nets, a torch, candles, matches and hand tools stockpiled in containers, ready for distribution if needed.
The scheme is being organised by Tearfund partner, the Bangladesh Nazarene Mission, run by the Church of the Nazarene. The church has nearly 1,500 congregations with 36,000 members, most of whom are based in rural areas and come from the Hindu dalit caste and ethnic minorities.
It’s believed to be the first time this approach of storing relief goods in family-sized kits has been used internally in Bangladesh, rather than bulk storage of items.
For a country which is prone to flooding and cyclones, the blue barrels will provide a quicker way to distribute aid to families.
The barrels have the advantage of being robust, waterproof and able to float. Also when they are empty they can be used to store rainwater, which can often be the only source of clean water in flooding situations.
Guy Calvert-Lee, Tearfund’s Country Representative for Bangladesh, said, ‘Family-sized relief boxes have been distributed in Bangladesh before but they have been flown in from the UK.
‘In this project, locally sourced and culturally appropriate items are being prepared. This method is cheaper, supports local retailers, and potentially results in more familiar and relevant relief items.'
Tearfund is also supporting the Bangladesh Nazarene Mission in a three-year project to reduce the vulnerability of 89,000 people living in 50 disaster and climate change affected communities in the south west. Here our partner is working with 40 local churches.