Poor coordination create chaos in relief operations in B'desh

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Dhaka, Nov 24 (UNI) Relief efforts in cyclone struck Bangladesh have centred in areas widely reported in the media, while out of reach places still wait to receive the much-needed food and medical supplies.

Reports of children and infants contracting diseases continued to pour all day long, over a week after the super cyclone side tore through the south-western districts.

Scores of people have been injured while jostling for relief packets thrown from trucks and other vehicles. Warm clothes were absent from the materials being distributed. Most of the private relief packets contained some rice, lentil, and oil whereas there were hardly any utensils to cook food.

Those working for international relief agencies blame the messiness on inexperience of the volunteers from private organisations.

''Private organisations and companies do not seem to bother much about organising their activities in coordination with the government and non-government agencies. As a result, there has been chaos in relief distribution. Besides, they are concentrating mainly on the areas that are grabbing the headlines,'' Khulna divisional head of an international relief agency said.

''Coordination is a must to make sure the relief materials are distributed according to specific needs of an area. What we see now is private donors sending wrong sort of relief to wrong places,'' Bangladesh news quoted him as saying.

As relief pours into villages like Southkhali that gained substantial media attention due to its staggering death toll, areas that are hard to access and smaller death counts are not receiving adequate aid.

Sohrab Hossain from Patuakhali said, ''Locals of Mirzaganj have alleged that there were irregularities in relief distribution. Those waiting for relief at Mirzaganj upazila headquarters have staged demonstrations in protest.'' They claimed there were scarcity of relief materials as well as lack of co-ordination.

The local administration sources said non-government organisations (NGOs) are not informing them about what they are giving out as relief, so anomaly in distribution might occur.

Individuals and different organisations including Red Crescent, Grameenphone, Warid Telecom, Save the Children, and Sammilito Sangskritik Jote are distributing relief materials in the cyclone-affected areas in Patuakhali.


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