Monday February 17, 2020

Climate change is devastating both the environment and people’s lives. As more and more natural disasters are occurring around the world, the people who are sadly suffering the most are the poorest and the most vulnerable in society.

Here at Islamic Relief, we know that to support communities in need, we have to help them become resilient against the effects of climate change. We must work to prevent disaster as much as possible. That’s why we run a range of programmes helping communities to prepare for and recover from natural disasters.

Sadly, once a disaster has hit, recovery can sometimes take years, if not decades. This is why disaster-preparation and resilience is essential. We, therefore, work to empower and prepare communities, providing a range of support including training, specialist tools and equipment and innovative technology to map water sources.

Bangladesh: Resilience and recovery from disaster

Back in 2009 in Ramjannagar (Bangladesh), Cyclone Aila destroyed all the fresh water supplies, contaminating the canals and underground sources with saline water. We knew we had to step in to provide long-term support for years to come.

In fact, despite the disaster having occurred ten years ago, communities are still battling the effects. When we met Hamida, for example, she was still struggling to recover years after the cyclone first shattered her life. She found it impossible to simply meet her and her family’s basic needs:

 I thought this was the end – we couldn’t survive like this. My hopes were destroyed and there was no money to start again. Even my husband lost hope even though he is very optimistic and believes in hard work.

However, with the support of Islamic Relief, Hamida prepared her household business plan to get her life back on track. Alhamdulillah we provided training on income generation and a shariah-compliant interest-free loan to kick-start her delivery business.

Hamida was then able to lease some land with the profits she made and started integrated farming. This is a technique in which water, marshland and farmland are all used together to support the growth and harvest of crops, livestock and fish. She is now saving to buy the land, insha’Allah.

Hamida is very optimistic about her future now thanks to the support she received:

I want to educate my son so that if a situation like Aila arises, his family can do the same no matter how hard. Islamic Relief Bangladesh gave me financial assistance but also brought back my confidence and hope. I pray they could expand their work and include more people like me.

Thank you for helping countless people such as Hamida – you are all lifesavers!

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*Names have been changed to protect the family’s identity.

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