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Report: Cyclone Amphan Relief in Bangladesh

In May 2020, Cyclone Amphan caused widespread devastation in India and Bangladesh. The winds reached a peak of 160mph (260km/h), which caused an estimated US$13 billion in damages to India’s state of West Bengal and at least US$130 million to Bangladesh, mainly in the Sundarbans region. At least 128 people lost their lives.

Give2Asia launched a campaign just days after receiving damage reports and response appeals from local partners. The campaign aimed to respond quickly during the response and recovery period. It addressed immediate needs, such as:

  • providing food, water, and emergency shelter for displaced residents
  • providing house repair and housing support
  • protecting displaced women, girls, and children
  • providing hygiene kits
  • providing livelihood support due to inundation of standing crops and destroyed aquaculture
  • providing emergency repair and replacement of latrines and tube wells
  • desalinizing open water sources

The campaign ran for six months, and through their existing Friends Funds, Give2Asia supported Spreeha Bangladesh Foundation and An Organization for Socio-Economic Development (AOSED) in Bangladesh in post-flood recovery.

Spreeha Bangladesh Foundation is a social enterprise that aims to enable individuals and communities to rise above social barriers. As part of its mission, Spreeha provided essential healthcare services, such as access to physicians, medicine, and pregnancy care services, to underserved communities. One of its programs is Sneho Urgent Health Care, which has healthcare centers that have served 200,000 people, including 5,000 women during and after their pregnancies. Spreeha also provides telehealth services to underserved patients in remote areas through its Sneho Mobile Health Service. Starting its operations in one district, it has expanded primary healthcare services to four regions.

Another Give2Asia partner, AOSED, is a nonprofit organization aiming to improve the standard of living and livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the Southwest Coastal Region of Bangladesh. They equip people with knowledge and tools to face the challenges created by climate change and ensure their access to natural and shared resources. Over the years, AOSED has worked on water justice, food security and agriculture, environment & climate change, health & hygiene, and disaster management issues with project partners, such as national and international development agencies and research and educational institutions.

Campaign Highlight: Mobile Health Care to Underserved Communities

The people in Shyamnagar Upazilla in Satkhira, one of the worst-affected places in Bangladesh, urgently needed access to healthcare after Cyclone Amphan hit the country. Telehealth proved to be the practical solution in these circumstances for increasing access to healthcare services for the community members.

Spreeha Bangladesh, with support from AOSED and the Give2Asia campaign, installed a remote doctor chamber (RDC) that allowed patients to connect with physicians over a video or audio call. A community-based health worker managed each RDC. Patients could visit an RDC when needed, and after each consultation, the physician gave an e-prescription for the patient. Spreeha Bangladesh also provided primary healthcare services, such as first aid, essential medicines, screening tests (e.g. blood sugar tests), nebulization, blood pressure management, and weight measurement.

The health workers went door-to-door to check on patients who could not travel to an RDC. This way, more people were reached and screened for possible health issues after the flood.

Future Needs

Bangladesh’s healthcare system needs to be strengthened as the threat of floods and climate change-related hazards loom.

Geographically, the Sundarbans area is prone to disasters. In addition, the availability of essential primary health care is minimal. Thus, the demand for proper healthcare solutions is very high. Spreeha Bangladesh Foundation aims to continue providing healthcare services at Satkhira for at least a year after the project is finished. In that year, Spreeha seeks to increase the capacity building of health workers and train new health workers. The community will also be encouraged to conduct periodic health check-ups and empower them to be in control of their health.

Ensuring community preparedness for a disaster is ongoing, so investing in partners’ preparedness work is strongly needed. Give2Asia works to increase the capacity of local community-based organizations across Asia to prepare for disasters and build sustainable programming to address long-term climate challenges. We work with countries that are highly vulnerable to disasters to fund innovative programming at the community level. Donations to Give2Asia’s Disaster Preparedness Fund will support our partners in their disaster preparedness efforts.

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