The official number of dead from Cyclone Sidr which ripped though Bangladesh on Thursday has now exceeded 3100, with the Government and United Nations predicting that that number could rise to as high as ten thousand when all of the harder to reach areas are finally attend to. Over a million people are homeless.
The Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) is one of the most effective Non-Governmental Organizations in the world. And with over 97 000 employees it is the largest NGO in the world. Born out of the Bangladesh Liberation War this homegrown organization has been attending to and researching the country's emergency aid and development needs since its founding.
One can donate to their Cyclone relief efforts - here.
And they have even started their own blog documenting those relief efforts.
Their vision :
With a vision of "a just, enlightened, healthy and democratic Bangladesh free from hunger, poverty, environmental degradation and all forms of exploitation based on age, sex, religion and ethnicity," BRAC started as an almost entirely donor funded, small-scale relief and rehabilitation projet to help the country overcome the devastation and trauma of the Liberation War. Today, BRAC has emerged as an independent, virtually self-financed paradigm in sustainable human development. It is the largest in the world employing 97,192 people, with the twin objectives of poverty alleviation and empowerment of the poor. Through experiential learning, BRAC today provides and protects livelihoods of around 100 million people in Bangladesh. Diagnosing poverty in human terms and recognising its multidimensional nature, BRAC approaches poverty alleviation with a holistic approach. BRAC's outreach covers all 64 districts of the country and furthermore, has been called upon to assist a number of countries including Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
From the time of its modest inception in 1972, BRAC recognised women as the primary caregivers who would ensure the education of their children and the subsequent inter-generational sustainability of their families and households. Its comprehensive approach combines Microfinance under BRAC's Economic Development programme with Health, Education and other Social Development programmes, linking all the programmes strategically to counter poverty through livelihood generation and protection.