Monday, November 19, 2007

Post Sidr, Dhaka's cyclone baby, men who seek Bangladeshi girls, women, mobile numbers during storms

This morning I was thrilled to see on Bangladesh from Our View, Sujan's new post "After Cyclone Sidr" and his accounts & pictures of a nearby slum (basti), residents repairing their plastic shelters after the Cyclone hit their area in Dhaka, and another cyclone baby! Bhalo korechen (well-done) to Computer officer Taslima who somehow uploaded this story and files on a very slow connection.

Given how many people are living in such shelters in Dhaka and other areas affected by the Cyclone, falling trees, flying tin roofs & poorly secured billboards, these were probably common scenes. At the same time, many have commented on how quickly the fallen trees and limbs were cleared by local residents and scavengers in Dhaka neighborhoods (see Shawn's ongoing posts).

Others on the coast had more mixed experiences with trees-branches that saved them, trees that graphically failed as secure shelter in 2007 & 1991 (see Rumi), and now for survivors--downed trees-branches that serve a source of income and fuel.

From a phone call and emails, I heard that Nari Jibon staff and students are fine. As the computer connections improve, more posts will appear soon re their own experiences, including Rafiq's post on his experiences and tense mobile calls to and from his sisters who were on the coast during the storm and his observations on information & preparations (and lack thereof) for Cyclone Sidr.

Finally in a reminder that all people have been affected by this Cyclone and might not always be helped by relief agencies, see Jonathan Munshi's post storm photos from the Mongla sex worker village (brothel) as they struggle to repair their dwellings. In a later post on 21 Nov 07, aid worker, Naima Chowdhury, reported that although the women had advance notice of the Cyclone, local people refused them shelter and aid because of their work. Action Aid has given them chira (puffed rice and dal), but need more aid to continue. The women and their children are facing hard times because they have fewer customers from low activity at the port, she notes, "These women are incredibly poor and also face exclusion from the rest of the community."

Ironically, before, during Cyclone Sidr, and even after, many people were still searching via Google for Bangladeshi girls, women, mobile numbers, sex, night life, etc (as reflected by the site meter readings & referral search terms that I monitor for the Nari Jibon blog and coming from some rather devout places). These links are common to all of us who blog on women's issues, but the international flavour and focus on Bangladeshi females has caught my attention.

Interesting how certain demands do not change even during disasters such as cyclones and floods--as I observed in 2004 floods--where sex workers were expected to show up for work at hotels as were garment workers who traveled to their factories by boat! To these persons searching during storms for female company, get a life, and use your funds to make a donation to one of the relief agencies! To the relief agencies--help everyone--especially those who are out of work b/c the disaster! This is particularly important for women and children excluded from the community, without male partners, and/or ultra poor-geographically isolated. Finally in the same series of posts, on 22 November, Naima Chowdhury writes how traffickers (including local police) are preying on young female orphans who have lost their parents.

I hope that relief will reach all affected persons despite their class, work, social standing, and/or location and that aid officals will pay particular attention to women without partners and orphaned children.

Drishtipat has an updated list of places to donate. As per my post last night re the Elephant-bus photo, DhakaShohor reminds us that the elephants cannot do the recovery work alone.

Please make a donation, no matter how small.

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