“The children were frightened of the snakes in the water,” says Adere. “They were shouting ‘snakes, snakes!’ A lot of my pet animals died – ducks, chickens, goats and cows – all drowned and were washed away.”

Adere Begum is a mother of two, pregnant with her third child and living in Bangladesh. Flooding is a natural part of life there but the floods which took place in Bangladesh in September 2017 were the worst in 40 years and Adere was one of millions whose lives were devastated.

Adere describes how she managed to flee her home with her children as the terrifying floodwaters swept in; “it’s natural for us, flooding, but this time it was above knee level in the house” explains Adere. She and her family were forced to leave their home. They camped for six days on higher ground and were protected only by plastic sheeting. The rapidly rising river was filled with snakes. “The children were frightened of the snakes in the water,” says Adere. “They were shouting ‘snakes, snakes!’ A lot of my pet animals died,” continues Adere – “ducks, chickens, goats and cows, all drowned and were washed away.”

Adere explains that the loss of the animals means that she has no income. She hopes to receive some cash to help buy more livestock.

However, thanks to your support, when the time came to save lives, the Red Cross was ready. Help for Adere came on a little Red Cross boat with Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers on board. Adhere’s family and 630 of the most vulnerable people on the island received a food parcel which included staples such rice, dal, salt, sugar, semolina and oil. They also received purified, clean drinking water. Overall, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society had 1,200 volunteers on the ground helping in the five worst-affected districts.


Weather-related crises are inevitable and as a result, the Red Cross has learned to always be prepared to respond to the next emergency, wherever it may be. But what many people don’t know is that the real work to save lives happens months before disaster strikes. Our rapid response to these disasters this year was only possible because your ongoing support allows us to assess needs, plan for disaster response, train volunteers and ensure our emergency centres are fully stocked long before disasters actually occur.

Thanks to our donors, our preparedness site in Kuala Lumpur was stocked with critical supplies and food rations, meaning we could quickly respond to help people like Adere and her family, even though they were stranded on an island.

We have additional preparedness centres in other sites around the globe to help us be ready when disasters occur.

Most of the work to save lives happens months in advance but last year’s disasters exhausted Red Cross supplies all over the world. That’s why your support is so greatly needed right now.


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