Recognizing the need to structure disaster response mechanisms in Bangladesh, SAJIDA Foundation has put into place a Disaster Response agenda that strives to carry out timely interventions in the wake of major disasters, humanitarian crises, and other national or local emergencies. The Disaster Response agenda not only seeks to provide immediate relief and rehabilitation support to the victims, but also seeks to help victims tackle the long-term effects of such events including psychological issues and traumas.
Floods and Cyclones
Bangladesh is highly susceptible to the effects of climate change and natural disasters, resulting in increased occurrences of cyclones, floods, and droughts. As such, Sajida Foundation’s Disaster Response agenda strives to provide a timely and effective response to natural disasters. Under the agenda, relief and rehabilitation support have been provided to the victims of cyclone SIDR in 2007 and those affected by floods in 1998 and 2004.
Rana Plaza Disaster
Similar rehabilitation and support facilities were extended to the victims of the devastating Rana Plaza disaster. A team of health professionals from SAJIDA Foundation, including doctors, nurses, paramedics and psychosocial counselors, equipped with medical supplies, attended to the victims of the tragedy. The Foundation also provided rehabilitation and livelihood support to the survivors.
Floods and River Erosions
In partnership with Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and the World Bank, SAJIDA Foundation has also undertaken an initiative to support the people affected by frequent floods and river erosion caused by fluxes in the rivers Jamuna and Brahmaputra. This initiative works to ease access to safe drinking water and propagate the need for sanitation and safe water practices. Interventions include disseminating information on these issues and locally installing deep tube wells and sanitary latrines. It also undertakes work to elevate courtyards and homesteads to minimise damage to homes during floods.
Emergency Support for Rohingya
The year 2017, we witnessed a humanitarian crisis of staggering scale caused by violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state which forced over 536,000 Rohingya refugees to flee to Bangladesh. Of the half a million people seeking refuge in Cox’s Bazar, the vast majority consisted women (including pregnant and lactating women with new born babies) and families with children in very poor health conditions.
SAJIDA Foundation, with decades of expertise in development work, particularly in the health sector, responded immediately by visiting the site and conducting a needs assessment on the ground. With the support of national and international donors, SAJIDA set up a makeshift health camp in Ukhia, Cox’s Bazar by October 4, 2017 to extend emergency health services, focusing particularly on pregnant women, lactating mothers and children. SAJIDA mobilized a team of qualified doctors, paramedics and health workers – specially selected on their ability to communicate in the local dialect – to provide health services including medicine, consultations, emergency treatments and referrals for up to 200 patients a day.
As of December 15, 2017, our Community Health Workers, known as SAJIDA Bondhus, reached 63,091 people through household visits; while our health camp provided health services to 14,603 patients and conducted emergency referrals for 372 patients.
SAJIDA also created a child-friendly space for children equipped with toys, games, coloring books and other positively engaging activities to help children cope with trauma. SAJIDA’s health center is also equipped with a hospital bed and emergency resuscitation, oxygen inhalation and nebulization support. SAJIDA has also welcomed international doctors and social workers to provide trainings, workshops and health support at the health camp.
We are grateful to all those who stepped forward to support our humanitarian work for the Rohingya community in Ukhia, Cox’s Bazar.
Click below to watch SAJIDA’s response for rehabilitation for the flood victims in the northern regions of the country (December 2017).