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Love thy neighbor: Bangladesh donates US$800,000 for flood effort


Residents survey the damage caused by cyclone Komen that swept across western Myanmar. Photo: WFP

The Bangladeshi government has donated US$800,000 to the Myanmar government to assist in relief efforts in regards to recent flooding and landslides around the country.

A press release from 6 August stated that the government would support the relief effort by “supplying medicines, emergency kits, water purifiers, tents and blankets.”

Bangladesh is currently suffering its own crisis as the delta country succumbed to the force of Cyclone Komen on 31 July. The storm weakened as it made landfall but still managed to cause widespread damage.

Some 500,000 people were evacuated because of the storm and 28 people died from landslides, a capsized boat and illness.

Mr. Tareque Muhammad from the Bangladesh Embassy to Myanmar told Mizzima, “It is the commitment that we show to Myanmar, as we understand the plight of the people as this is something that is very common for us.”

Myanmar has received aid money from many foreign countries: The United States: $600,000, United Kingdom: US$775,000, Australia: approx. US$1 million, Thailand: $142,202, Singapore Red Cross: $100,000 and China: $300,000, to name but a few.

Counselor of Development Assistance of the Australian Embassy, Nick Cumpston said in addition to the government’s donation they would be donating “Emergency family kits that include: cooking utensils, bedding, clothing, mosquito nets, hygiene kits and school supplies.”

But most of the aid effort has come from local companies, those who stand out are KBZ companies and Sky Net. Kanbawza Group Companies have donated upwards of US$3.6 million, with US$1.6m coming from the charity “Brighter Future Myanmar Foundation” and US$2m from KBZ’s subsidiaries.

Daw Aye Aye Cho, the headmistress of a Kalay school who is working on helping refugees affected by flooding told Mizzima that “Skynet is offering free television amongst other things, the dramas keep people busy and distracted. So people aren’t getting into trouble.”

Bangladesh and Myanmar have recently been hounded by the international community to take responsibility for Rohingya refugees who have been fleeing the region in high numbers this year.

68,000 Rohingya were said to have fled by boat into the Andaman Sea only to end up in death camps. Both governments said they would participate in a crackdown of people smuggling in their border and then repatriate people back to their respective countries.

The Myanmar government has sent most of those they have found in their waters to Bangladesh.

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