Ipswich aid worker helps in Bangladesh camps ahead of monsoons

Aid worker Amy Loader at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh Picture: AJ GHANI/BRITISH RED CROSS

Aid worker Amy Loader at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh Picture: AJ GHANI/BRITISH RED CROSS - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich aid worker has spoken of her work at the Bangladesh Cox’s Bazar camp to promote sanitisation ahead of the cyclone and monsoon season.

Amy Loader, 30, was supporting the sanitation module ahead of the cyclone and monsoon period, where she provided finance and administrative support to the team in the busy camp.

It’s understood 200,000 people in the camps are at risk of floods and landslides, including 25,000 living in extremely high-risk areas.

Amy, who attended Holbrook High School before studying at Colchester Sixth Form and University of Sussex, helped to provide aid for around 5,000 of the refugees inside the camp.

She said: “The high standard of the sanitation facilities being constructed and the impact it has on those living in the camp is amazing.

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“I’m so glad I played a part in the process. It is something to be really proud of and introduces an interesting perspective.”

The impending heavy rains carry the risk of spreading waterborne disease like cholera, as latrines overflow and pathways become muddy and impassable for sanitation workers.

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Reflecting on her time there, Amy, who has been Red Cross volunteer development manager for the past five years, said: “The role was really interesting. I believe this situation will be one of the biggest humanitarian issues of our time, and, unfortunately, it’s likely to be a protracted scenario.”

The Red Cross is building safe toilets and bathing facilities. It has also been working to educate people on the importance of WASH – water, sanitation and hygiene – by training advocates in the camp in a bid to protect against waterborne diseases.

Amy said she saw concerns about the upcoming extreme weather first hand. She said: “I was there at a particularly tense time as people were incredibly worried about the imminent monsoon season which could potentially see months of heavy rain in the region.

“It was mostly dry while I was there. We used the little rain there was to determine what the drainage systems were likely to be and which of our sanitation facilities might be at risk of flooding. For those facilities that were vulnerable, we built up flood defences using sandbags.”

“The location of the camp, the topography of the setting and the threat of the weather has created some very tricky complications for the team.”

This was Amy’s first deployment overseas with the Red Cross, and she said: “It was an incredibly fulfilling project and I would definitely like to go again.”

If you would like to support Amy’s work, visit https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/myanmar-appeal

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