She is a sweet baby. All people in the neighbourhood love her. She is Sidora Folia. She was born in the fateful night of Sidr.
Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh on November 15, 2007, killing over 3,000 people, causing a billion dollars of destruction and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.
Previous storms had killed people in the hundreds of thousands and although the death toll of 3,000 was still too high it was much less than would have normally been expected for such a large cyclone. 140,000 died in 1991 in a similar storm.
One of the factor was disaster preparedness projects carried out by aid agencies such as our national member Caritas Bangladesh. They’d provided training and built storm-proof centres for people to seek safety.
When Sidr hit, some people rushed to Caritas shelter-cum- primary School building situated at Kaninagar in Mongla upazila under Bagerhat district. As Sidr wrecked its terrible destruction outside, in that perilous moment of nature a baby girl was born safely. To bear the memory of Sidr she was named Sidora.
Caritas has already spent US$ 4.5 million for emergency relief, cash for work, repair of damaged schools, houses and latrines; livelihood support and professional rehabilitation work.
Construction of 7, 300 new low cost houses with US$ 6 million will be completed this month. Steps have also been taken to repair 164 existing cyclone shelters and for construction of 35 new cyclone shelters and for this US$ 5.5 million will be spent.
Sidora’s parents received food and shelter from Caritas in the immediate aftermath of the storm. They’d lost their home and livelihoods. Caritas provided a loan to Sidora’s parents to buy a house and open a carpentry shop. They earn some money though not enough and will need more support to get back on their feet.
Sidora got baptism from the Catholic Church two months ago. Her father Tapon Folia said, ‘God’s blessing is more important than anything. Had the cyclone shelter not been here, my wife could not have given birth to our daughter in a safe place. Probably my wife and the baby would have perished in the tidal surge. We consider this shelter a boon to us as well as to the people of this area” Read Sidora’s full story
Caritas was blessed with two babies that night. Baby Sidr Jona, a boy, was also born.
Stories complied by Mohammed Alauddin Information and Communication Coordinator for Caritas Bangladesh