"All these people in the camps are normal people who had normal lives. They’re not rich people, but they had houses and clothes, and then one day, they had to pack their things, leave their lives behind and start to walk. For weeks on end."
Today I went to the third, and final, place where we are doing medical clinics, in the area of Dakshin Bedkashi. You really have to watch out for high tide, because you can only pass through certain places at low tide. Otherwise, where the pathway is broken, you have to go up to your chest through water with strong currents.
It is my third day here in Satkira District of Bangladesh. About six weeks ago, this place was inundated with water when Cyclone Aila hit and broke many levees in a region where people live at or below sea level. The result was much like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Despite ongoing conflict that has made it difficult for humanitarian organizations to be in Iraq, since 2006 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has set up medical projects for populations in Anbar, Tameen, Ninewa, Sulemaniya, Baghdad, and Basra. MSF also runs a project in Jordan for Iraqi war wounded. Khalil Sayyad recently returned from Basra, southern Iraq, where he worked as Field Coordinator for nine months. He was part of MSF's first international team to establish a presence in Iraq since 2004, when high insecurity led MSF to leave country.
"The only thing separating the displaced people from life-threatening dehydration was a three-and-half inch diameter, exposed pipe that was snaking through the jungle to the town." says Barry Gutwein, a water-and-sanitation engineer from Indiana, who was dispatched to Dubie, a town in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Katanga Province.