While the world's attention is elsewhere, Bangladesh faces a humanitarian crisis | Tom Bamforth

While the world's attention is elsewhere, Bangladesh faces a humanitarian crisis | Tom Bamforth

Monsoon floods have affected millions in south Asia. But the world is still ignoring disasters that are happening more often and becoming more severe

  • Tom Bamforth is shelter coordinator for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

“Let’s sing a song,” said helicopter pilot Captain Mahbub, as we took off from outside the rusty hangar in Dhaka for our aerial assessment of the floods in Bangladesh. Without waiting for a reply, he burst into John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane.

“I used to sing this when I was in trouble in the Air Force”, he recalled. He paused briefly before adding “of course John Denver died in a plane crash”.

Related: Floods claim more than 800 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh

Poor villagers have invested money, labour and imagination in becoming more resilient.

Related: South Asia floods kill 1,200 and shut 1.8 million children out of school

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