Monday August 20, 2007 – DHAKA, BANGLADESH: CMAT’s two-member initial assessment team arrived in Dhaka on August 18 and have issued their initial situation report. According to the assessment team, Dhaka-based International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research – Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) has become the main treatment ‘hospital’ where flood victims suffering from water-borne illness and diarhea are being treated.
According to CMAT assessment team, Doctors and nurses are overwhelmed as over 1780 patients are being seen every 24 hours with acute GI distress, typhoid, skin and eye infections and severe dehydration with outside temperatures reaching 33 degrees Celsius.
To the dismay of its citizens, the Government of Bangladesh has still not issued an international appeal for assistance – an important requirement for funding agencies such as CIDA to contribute additional funds. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has disbursed $250,000 out of $1 million to the Canadian High Commission in Bangladesh with no further funds unless the government of Bangladesh asks for it. CMAT assessment teams have met with Canadian High Commission officials in Dhaka who report that these funds have already been allocated to large local NGOs.
With more rain in the forecast, the situation is expected to worsen and over 2,000 patients daily are expected to be seen once the water recedes. The primary treatment area is under a make-shift tent with over 500 patients from neonatal age to the elderly. Hospital supplies are running extremely short. Physicians and nurses working at the facility are overwhelmed and even local boy scouts are helping.
CMAT assessment team is planning a 4 week medical infrastructure support mission to ship medical supplies (IV tubing, rehydration kits, medications, etc.) and send an 8- 10-member Canadian medical team to the facility to help relieve the local medical staff.
CMAT appeals to CIDA and the Canadian High Commission in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh to support its efforts for the 4 week mission. In the meantime, CMAT appeals to the public for its support to help the people of Bangladesh. Please be generous.