The floods of August 2017 caused devastation on a massive scale across South Asia. Media attention may have moved on, but the rebuilding effort will last for years to come. However, thanks to the hard work of our partners and the tenacity of local people like Nazir*, the signs of recovery are slowly starting to appear.
Nazir lives with his wife and four children in a small village in rural Bangladesh. To support his family he relies on growing crops, horse cart driving and sometimes seasonal work in different towns.
The floods wiped out everything. Thousands of houses, crops, roads, schools, wells and latrines were destroyed or seriously damaged. At least 1.7 million people were forced from their homes.
‘I’m a small scale farmer, and don’t have much land,’ Nazir tells us. ‘This year in early August I planted rice, but the flood washed out all the seedlings. I was shocked and couldn’t do anything. I had no money to buy saplings for re-cultivation.
‘I talked to several microfinance organisations, but none of them provided loans for us. I even begged for a loan to the money lenders, but I was turned away as I had no money for a deposit. I became hopeless.’
Rice cultivation across the region was completely ruined. Communication systems with district towns were also disrupted. Along with the government, many humanitarian organisations came forward to help those affected. Local Tearfund partners went to work, providing relief and rehabilitation for the people most in need.
‘One time, when I was sitting in a local tea stall, some people were discussing that [Tearfund partner] Lamb Hospital were distributing beluga lentil seeds among the small scale farmers. Immediately, I went back home and discussed this with my wife. The next day I got in touch with their staff and received 2kg of beluga lentil seeds.’
Nazir’s land is now lush and green – covered with beluga lentil plants. ‘Immediately after receiving the seed, I spread all of them onto my land, where previously I had planted rice-paddy saplings that were ruined by the floods,’ he says.
‘With a big smiling face I looked at the blue sky and said, “God willing, after 15 to 20 days I will harvest this crop.” I am grateful for the seeds and subsequent support.’
But Nazir still has anxieties. His family lives close to the river bank that was so recently overwhelmed. ‘If the erosion continues like this, I may not be able to live here anymore. The land may go under the river – here everything is uncertain. No one knows what will happen.’
As long as there is need in communities such as Nazir’s, Tearfund and our partners will be there. Please continue to pray for this work.
*Name changed to protect identity
- Pray for all those who lost livelihoods and loved ones in these floods. Ask that God will be with them as they go through the difficult rebuilding process.
- Lift up our partners working across Nepal, India and Bangladesh as they strive to help those most in need.
- Thank God that Nazir and his family have been able to make a new start, and pray that, despite the challenges that they’re facing, they will have a bright future.