United Methodist Committee on Relief

Sami Azim: Inspired to Move Forward

UMCOR Disaster Response Report

Bangladesh is prone to flooding due to its location on the Ganges Delta and the many tributaries flowing into the Bay of Bengal. Coastal flooding, combined with the bursting of riverbanks, is common and severely affects the landscape and society of Bangladesh. According to a recent government report, approximately 300,000 families have been affected by flooding in the last year. The Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, and Sirajganj districts are the most affected areas in the north and northeast regions of Bangladesh. A three-month emergency project funded by UMCOR identified a large number of the vulnerable population. Here is one of their stories.

Sami Azim: Inspired to Move Forward 

Sami Azim*, 46, lives with his wife, three daughters, and a son on the embankment of the Jamuna River in the village of Shimla. He also has the responsibility of caring for his 75-year-old mother. Azim lost his right leg due to polio years ago, and although many would say he is not physically able, he continues to earn a living to support his family. 

During the recent flooding, Azim’s home was devastated by the Jamuna River, not once but twice. Not to be deterred by the loss of his land, he and his family moved to rented land nearby. Azim worked as a tenant farmer in other’s fields, and in the off-season, got work as a street hawker to earn money. Most of his income was used for his mother’s medicines and treatment. He and his family were suffering, with barely enough food to survive. 

They were selected as beneficiaries of the “Emergency Response to the Flood-Affected Communities in Sirajganj District Project,” implemented by Muslim Aid and funded by UMCOR. The family received a small grant, along with a hygiene kit. With the grant, Azim purchased food for his family’s immediate needs and is now looking ahead. He is planning to buy a goat or some chickens with the remaining money. The family can look after the animals and will have milk or eggs to sell. 

Azim and his family will have a better life because of this small grant. “A small help is proved as a great one in the time of need,” he said.

*Names have been changed to protect the beneficiary’s privacy.

* Written by Tanvir Elahi & the local team in Bangladesh.