Four days after Cyclone Sidr struck Bangladesh with violent winds and a 15-foot surge of water, Direct Relief International continues to galvanize available resources to help the 3 million people affected by the emergency.
As reported on Friday, two shipments that were intended for regular ongoing support of local partners will be redirected for emergency response as needed, and Direct Relief is working with local groups to learn of specific needs in connection with the cyclone response.
Direct Relief staff members have been in touch with the Bangladeshi consulate in Los Angeles to offer the organization’s support and discuss ways to expedite clearance of medical material aid into the country.
Additionally, Direct Relief has approached several of its corporate donors about donations of antibiotics, personal care items, and water purification systems, among other items, specifically for the cyclone recovery.
According to Direct Relief’s partners in Bangladesh, the severity of the impact, and thus the appropriate response, has not yet been fully realized. “The scale of devastation is so severe [but] it is not yet clear as many areas are inaccessible,” said Dr. Iftkher Mahmood of Hope Foundation via e-mail.
Communications with these partners has been challenging; the cyclone destroyed much of the country’s communications and electrical infrastructure, making phone calls and e-mail correspondence difficult.
Though Direct Relief does not have a specific campaign for cash contributions to the cyclone recovery, we will honor any requests for donations to be directed to the response in Bangladesh. Due to a recent bequest, Direct Relief pays for all of its own overhead administrative and fundraising expenses, and 100 percent of all donations we receive are applied for programmatic expenses.