A grant of £15,000 from Freemasons will provide more than 700 families with food for almost three weeks in the wake of Super Cyclone Amphan, which swept through Bangladesh and India ten days ago.
This urgently-needed humanitarian assistance has been provided by the Freemasons’ charity the Masonic Charitable Foundation, to which Lincolnshire’s Freemasons regularly donate.
More than 100 people have died in the extreme weather event, and despite a mass evacuation in advance, tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed and power has been cut off in many regions. There has been extensive damage to roads, bridges and other essential infrastructure, and many villages have been flooded or cut off.
There is a major shortage of food, and drinking water supplies have been contaminated. £15,000 is enough to provide more than 700 families with a comprehensive food basket that will last them up to 20 days in the wake of the disaster. This vital support will ensure children who have lost everything will not go hungry, and families will have access to basic necessities like rice, wheat flour, dal and high-energy biscuits.
In Bangladesh alone, more than 2.4 million people were evacuated to cyclone shelters, three times as many as were evacuated during the last cyclone alert in 2019. There are fears that the cramped and overcrowded conditions in temporary shelters will greatly accelerate the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Cases of the coronavirus were on the rise in both countries before the cyclone hit.
Rose Caldwell, Chief Executive of Plan International UK, said: “We’re hugely grateful for this generous contribution to Plan International’s disaster response to Super Cyclone Amphan. The damage is colossal across large parts of Bangladesh and India. This donation will enable us to provide urgent support to those most in need, especially children and girls.”
Lincolnshire’s PGM Dave Wheeler said:“Sadly, many people have died and hundreds of thousands more have been displaced by this terrible cyclone. I’m very pleased that Freemasonry is able to move so quickly to provide this essential funding for Plan International UK, who are providing rapid support to those worst affected.”
He added: “This donation is of course in addition to the work being done to alleiviate the impact of Covid-19 at home, and the aspiration of Lincolnshire Freemasons to contribute at least £2.25m to the Freemasons’ Charity the MCF by the end of 2025.”