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After losing his home, Tusher found his purpose

Tusher’s home was destroyed in a horrific storm 14 years ago, but he’s determined it will never happen again.

Climate change is hitting families like Tusher’s hard. His community is on a stretch of coastline in the Bay of Bengal, southern Bangladesh, which is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and where a violent storm destroyed everything he owned, and nearly cost the lives of his family.

‘It was one of the most horrific cyclones I have experienced,’ says Tusher. Back in 2007, Tusher – then newly married – lived through a night that would change his life.

Tusher’s village is situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in southern Bangladesh. ‘The sea is so near to us,’ he says. ‘That’s why we are suffering so much.’ Warming temperatures mean that this already disaster-prone area is being hit more regularly by extreme weather.

Tusher remembers a bright, balmy day that changed dramatically. ‘The rains started suddenly. Clouds formed and there was a violent gale.’

No storm warning

The community only had one broken radio, so there was no warning of the oncoming storm. Tusher, his wife and father – dodging falling trees – fled from their home to safety at a nearby school. In the early hours, once the storm started abating, Tusher and his father returned to see the damage.

‘Alas! We’ve lost our home,’ his father cried, burying his head in his hands. The family had to start afresh from nothing, but Tusher was determined it would never happen again...

When Tearfund’s partner, World Concern Bangladesh (WCB), came to help the community be more prepared for future disasters, Tusher wanted to play his part. Keen to protect his young family, he joined the church committee that prepares for and responds to disasters.

‘We now make preparations,’ Tusher says. ‘WCB helped us set up the committee, they train and advise us about disasters. The church leaders are also the committee leaders.’

Constant threat of disaster

Despite his strong Christian faith, Tusher finds it hard to accept why his family are still in danger. ‘Sometimes, we question why God created us and allows us to suffer so much.’ But he still has hope that God will protect his family. ‘I pray to God to keep my home safe,’ he says. ‘If we lose it, we may not be able to build even a hut to live in. We pray to God that no more dangerous events will hit us.’

Thankfully, the disaster committee members are prepared and ready to alert the community should it ever happen again. ‘We make a plan, and set each other tasks,’ says Tusher. ‘We will find disabled and elderly people and pregnant women and make sure they are looked after.

‘From World Concern’s training, we have learnt that we live in an area prone to disasters, and we cannot change that. But we can use our knowledge and skills to reduce the damage disasters can cause.’

Tusher’s passion is now to keep not only his family but his whole community safe. ‘I like to give good advice, to support people in their distress, to help them. I love these things.’

If you'd like to support life-saving work like this around the world, you can give to Tearfund’s Christmas appeal.

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