IFRC’s Joe Cropp is in Bangladesh to see the work of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society in response to the recent floods. This is his second post.
Bilkis walks out of the waste-deep water, a look of stubborn determination on her face. The mother-of-two carries a few possessions she was able to salvage from her flooded home – a cooking pot and a bag of random kitchen utensils. Her expression shifts between determination and despair as she explains how the flood waters swept away her home, only a month after she had moved here. “I have been hit by floods so many times in my life, that I can’t remember the last time,” she says.
We walk together along a narrow winding track to where she is now staying with her husband and two children. Each side of the track, which sits five metres above the flood water, is lined with small shelters of tarpaulin or tin, families sitting underneath. Down the steep bank it is possible to see their former homes, the water now flowing through the windows. Occasionally, people appear out of a flooded house, like Bilkis, trying to salvage whatever they can from the ruins.
Bilkis take me to her shelter, which was once part of a corrugated iron roof, now held up by two pieces of timber. She introduces her two sons and husband, his foot was badly injured in a work accident before the floods. It has left the tiny woman with a huge responsibility for her family. “We have survived floods before,” she says, the look of determination back on her face. “We’ll do it again.”
The IFRC has launched an emergency appeal for the floods and landslides in Bangladesh.