Some of the thousands of people whose lives were devastated when Super Cyclone Amphan hit Bangladesh and India on 20th May, will be given urgently-needed humanitarian assistance, thanks to a grant of £15,000 supported by the English and Welsh Freemasons.
More than 100 people have died, 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 massive 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.
Freemasons from England and Wales have contributed to the grant that comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
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.”
Gareth Jones, head of the South Wales Freemasons, 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 by this disaster.”
# # #
The attached photograph shows the remains of a house in the Indian state of West Bengal. Tens of thousands of homes like this one have been destroyed following the landfall of Super Cyclone Amphan on 20th May
For further information about the Masonic Charitable Foundation, please contact Guy Roberts, Press Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org | 0203 146 3311)
About the Masonic Charitable Foundation
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief. In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports Freemasons and their families with a financial, health or family need. Visit www.mcf.org.uk
About Plan International UK
Plan International UK is an independent development and humanitarian charity that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.
We believe in the power and potential of every child. But this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And it is girls who are most affected.
Working together with children, young people, our supporters and partners, we strive for a just world, tackling the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children.
We support children’s rights from birth until they reach adulthood. And we enable children to prepare for – and respond to – crises and adversity. We drive changes in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using our reach, experience and knowledge.
We have been building powerful partnerships for children for 80 years, and are now active in more than 70 countries.