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Home  >  Features  >  The Coronavirus Diaries: We Will Survive by the Grace of God


Aftermath of Super Cyclone Yaas
Aftermath of Super Cyclone Yaas

The Coronavirus Diaries: We Will Survive by the Grace of God

Wednesday June 2 2021

The Rev John Probhudan Hira of the Church of Bangladesh says supplies are low, as the country deals with both pandemic and the aftermath of last week's Cyclone Yaas

Coronavirus or Covid-19 was a name not known to Bangladeshi folks. Last year, this new disease caused much panic and distress among the common people. When they saw a picture of the virus they thought that if this big ball enters into their body then they will definitely die! Generally, the ordinary people of Bangladesh had no idea how to prevent and fight it.

At the same time there were various rumours spreading all over Bangladesh regarding Coronavirus that created mountains of negative impact on every aspect (socio-economic, political, religious, cultural) of human life especially the marginalised poor people of the country.

Some of our Church members passed away due to Covid-19, and the impact was felt mentally on bereaved families as others in society looked down upon them. The Church also experienced a huge financial crisis due to closing schools, college, hospitals and church itself.

As Covid-19 outbreaks quickly surged worldwide, our Government took preventive measures such as travel bans, restricted office activities, country lockdown, washing hands, wearing masks, using sanitisers and maintaining social distancing. These measures were a challenge in Bangladesh, particularly amongst the marginalised poor people. Bangladesh has some of the world’s densest populations. Due to lockdown many lost jobs - daily labourers, household helpers, rickshaw pullers, farmers, fishermen, construction workers - they were not able to pay rent, so many went home to their villages, while others struggled to survive.

The shutting of educational institutions, now for over 18 months, has damaged the education system and students are suffering from depression, especially the private sector including Church institutions, and the situation of teachers is dire. Because they cannot go out, children and teenagers are addicted to internet games, gambling etc. There is a huge rise in domestic violence as husbands and wives quarrel and fight, and children are also become angry and aggressive.  Those who live from hand to mouth are starving.

At first, the Church was helping to feed people in the community as our congregations extended their hands towards the poor and suffering people irrespective of their religion, but now the continuous lockdown and low income of the Church means they have little left to help the needy people.

Now some of the border areas like Chapainobabgonj, Satkhira, Rajshahi, Natore, Mongla Port have identified the Indian variant and people are scared as every day the numbers of infections and deaths are increasing.

On top of this, on May 26 we were hit by SuperCyclone Yaas which has caused double distress, agony and disaster to the coastal and border area people. Yaas is an effect of climate change and global warming. Therefore we all need to seriously change the life style and care for creation for future generations to survive on this planet.

The whole world is fighting against this Coronavirus with their best scientists and advanced technology. Unfortunately developing countries like Bangladesh are fighting to achieve even the limited preventive measures to prevent spread. Preparedness is the key to address any pandemic or health crisis, to provide preventive measures particularly resources for health workers and the sick. Timely measures taken with proper co-ordination may help the country to fight this deadly virus. As the situation unfolds, is the world watching how Bangladesh will navigate this crisis?

We will survive by the Grace of God. Along with our Church partners, whatever limited resource we have, we are using and serving the people of God to witness Christ even in the midst of the pandemic.

Thanks for all your kind support and prayers as we face the challenges together.

The Rev John Probhudan Hira is Synod Secretary, Church of Bangladesh and Principal of St Andrew's Theological College, Dhaka.

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The Coronavirus Diaries: reflections from Church of Scotland partners around the world

Nepal: Exhausting and Often Heartbreaking
Malawi: God Has Been Faithful to Us
France: Thankful For What I Have
India: Love Your Neighbours
A Nigerian in Scotland: Alone But Not Lonely
Taiwan: When We Work Together, We Achieve the Best Results
Hungary: We Mourn Each Loss
Zambia: Preparing for the Vaccine, and a Third Wave
World Communion of Reformed Churches: The 'Covid and Beyond' Church
Pakistan: Passing the Light
Lebanon: The Lord Will Not Forsake Us
South Korea: 'It is Time For Christians to Hear the Marginalised'
Cuba: Keep Moving On
Canada: Cracks Have Been Exposed
Kenya: Leave No Child Behind
USA: Homes of Prayer
Mozambique: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
A Spaniard in Scotland: The Power of Movement
South Sudan: Being Positive
A Nigerian in Scotland: God is in Charge
Trinidad and Tobago: New Frontiers
Czech Republic: A Challenge for Everybody
Switzerland: An Outpouring of Solidarity and Creativity
The West Bank: A Landscape of Broken Dreams
Nepal: So Many Premature Goodbyes
Malawi: We Must Hold Each Other Close
Nigeria: A Fresh Spiritual Connectedness
Egypt: 'This Is A Time To Witness God'
Guyana: The Strength of our Connectedness
South Korea: A Harsh Reality
Zimbabwe: Convenience or a Wake-up Call?
Sri Lanka: Service is the Highest Form of Worship
USA: Testing Positive
Portugal: The Mission of the Church Has Not Changed
World Council of Churches: A New Dawn is Upon us
Hungary: Physically Distant but Close in Spirit
A German in Scotland: Something New Has Already Begun
Myanmar: We Will Overcome this Hardship
Ghana: This Too Shall Pass
Brazil: The Least We Can Do
Kenya: Caring for One Another in Christ
An Indian in Germany: A Time of Enrichment
Argentina: Time in Between
Malawi: 'My identity in Christ remains unchanged'
Jerusalem: Being Rather than Doing
Malawi: No Lockdown and an Election
Zambia: 'I will never leave you... or forsake you'
Czech Republic: The Covid Cover-up
Zambia: 'All Life is Sacred'
Israel/Palestine: 'The Air is Clear'
Nepal: 'Please Pray for Us'
Malawi: Tough Dilemmas
Italy: 'Together, We Will Get Through It'