Salvation Army in Bangladesh Responds After Building Collapse

April 25, 2013
Christopher Priest | chris_priest@uss.salvationarmy.org | (404) 728-6704

Salvationists in Bangladesh are responding after an eight-storey building collapsed in Savar, about 30 kilometres from the capital city, Dhaka. At least 200 people have been killed in the disaster, though that number is likely to rise as rescuers work their way through the ruins.

The Bangladesh Command's training college is only a kilometre from the scene so officers and cadets were on hand very quickly. A team led by Captain Bibhudan Samaddar (District Officer, Dhaka) was asked by a government coordinator to provide medicine to a local clinic and hospitals. Lack of medical supplies is the most pressing immediate concern at the site of the disaster and across the area.

Salvation Army officers and cadets have been faced with some gruesome sights, including bodies left in the open while the search for survivors continues. They have bought supplies of what is known as 'Blessing Powder', which they sprinkled on the bodies to keep away insects and prevent the spread of infection.

An initial sum of US$3,000 is being sent to Bangladesh from International Headquarters in London. This will cover the cost of medical supplies and food parcels for families of people who worked in the three garment factories that were housed in the destroyed building.

Lieut-Colonel Alistair Venter, Officer Commanding of the Bangladesh Command, says that The Salvation Army is seeking to fulfil needs that are not currently being met by the government, particularly while the rescue operation continues to be a priority. 'We want to bring relief to those who are suffering,' he writes, 'and try to address some of the challenges that the bereaved and injured family members are facing.'

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The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to carry out those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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