What a week!

Well this is a week that will probably remain memorable in Dhaka, sadly for many wrong reasons.  Last weekend areas of Dhaka were on a red security alert during the approach to Independence Day.  There were many stories flying around, but fortunately it came to nothing, and everyone remained safe.  We are to ‘remain vigilant’ following unconfirmed threats against foreigners and Christians.

You may then have heard about the tragic fire in a 22 story tower block in the Banani area, which sadly took the lives of 26 people, but when you hear some of the stories and see some of the pictures, I believe it was a miracle that so many survived.  Again there are many different stories circulating, not to mention news reports and video footage, that is very distressing.  It has brought about a heightened awareness of the risks of fire, and the general lack of knowledge and evacuation plans that are in place.  We live just under a mile away from this particular tragedy, and were very aware of the helicopters circulating, but felt no inclination to join the thousands of people that were standing watching events unfold.

Just a couple of days after this another huge fire was reported, as a market caught fire.  Over 200 shops were destroyed, and peoples’ livelihoods lost, however as it was early in the morning there were fortunately no casualties.  This is again relatively close to where we live, and we did hear the sirens of fire engines as they made their way to put out the fire.  Another fire had damaged this same area in 2017, so families are really suffering as they took loans out to rebuild and restock last time, and again are left with nothing.

It appears that the stormy season has arrived, slightly ahead of schedule with the season’s first    Kalbaishakhi or nor’wester hitting Dhaka last night.  There are reportedly 6 people who have been killed as well as several injured as a result of the storm.  Our friends large window blew into their living room in the 74 mph wind, fortunately only causing damage and not injury.  We were safely in our home, however it was still a very scary experience, most storms here are pretty spectacular with pounding rain, endless thunder and lightening and a very strange wind that comes and goes over quite a short period of time, but causes absolute mayhem during its presence.  Our power went off for quite a long period, only to come back intermittently during the evening.  We seem to have been the lucky ones.  Many homes are still without power or internet, and 1500 mobile phone masts are out of action. 

This morning the weather was gorgeous, lovely and fresh and the bluest sky we have seen for a while.  We are told this will be a little short lived as more storms are expected over the next few days.

After a week of tragedy for so many Bengalis, we pray that we move into a peaceful time, and that all the right lessons can be learned to prevent further ‘preventable’ disasters happening.