“Fridays bring misery to my life”, Tajem told IR with tears in his eyes.
The first near miss was during the rains of 1970 when Tajem lost 27 members of his family. This happened on a Friday night.
The second was the shocking cyclone of November 15 2007, which started on Thursday night and continued into Friday. This time, though Tajem lost no loved ones, he lost his home.
Forced to beg
Tajem, who was a cattle broker in his youth, lives in the village of Katakhali, in the Panpatti Union, Upazila Galachipa, Patuakhali District. He has one son; having lost his three daughters sometime ago. His son lives far away and so Tajem lives with his adopted daughter who takes care of him.
Tajem has no choice but to beg in order to raise money. He goes to a nearby city for 2 or 3 days at a time, after which he returns in order to rest for 1 or 2 days.
Tajem was not at home on the night Sidr began. He had broken his wrist just two days before and so was in the hospital. If he had been at home he would most certainly have died, as the house was totally destroyed.
His adopted son-in-law lost his fishing boat, which, besides the proceeds of Tajem’s begging, was the family’s only source of income.
With the help of the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO), IR Bangladesh distributed supplies (food packs containing 30 kg of rice, 5 kg of lentils, 2 kg of salt and 2 litres of oil) in the Katakhali area on December 5 2007, helping 318 families.
Tajems’ son–in-law was one of those to receive a food pack. Prior to this the family had received no help at all. They were very grateful and Tajem’s son-in-law decided to express his gratitude by helping IR distribute more food parcels.
Frightened and cold
While Tajem was lucky to escape death for the second time, he has not escaped suffering. He is now living in a temporary shelter made from the scraps of wood his family was able to collect after the cyclone.
Tajem has no bed. He sleeps on the ground on a thin mat made of dried leaves. He can feel the cold ground through the mat and cannot sleep. He is afraid that he will become ill and worries that he will not make it through the winter. Tajem urgently needs help to rebuild his house.
Please donate today and give people like Tajum a chance to improve their lives after the devastation of Cyclone Sidr.