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Bangladesh: natural disaster and responsibilities of the bloggers

Categories: South Asia, Bangladesh, Digital Activism, Disaster, Humanitarian Response

Last Monday rain-triggered mudslides buried [1] dozens of hillside shanty homes in Chittagong killing at least 134 people [2]. This is just another piece of tragic news that we read everyday. As a blogger how do you respond to it?

Arild Klokkerhaug is an entrepreneur, blogger and the man behind the largest Bangla blogging platform “Bandh Bhanger Awaaj” [3]. Once again he led from the front to show how the blog community could mobilize in a tragic situation like this. He asks in his blog [4]:

how many bloggers do we have in chittagong? can we have local bloggers reporting and sharing information with us? can bloggers of chittagong unite and start a campaign? mobilize people to share food and clothes with the victims? take your blog posts to the press, suggest direct action, be there and participate for help and report back from the disaster area what is going on. i think we can.

He calls for action:

this is the potential power of our blog community, and this is a cause to unite for! come on bloggers, lets unite for a campaign and participate with coverage and help.

Supporting Arild's call Arif Jebtik slammed [5] the bloggers for being not responsive:

আমরা সেই দুর্গত অসহায় বৃষ্টি ভেজা মানুষদের কথা বলতে ভুলে যাই।কারন তারা আমার সুরুচি আর সুক্ষ তর্ক জ্ঞানের বিষয় নয়।আমার কাছে দেশে মানেই একটি বিশাল বিষয়,দেশের মানুষ আমার কাছে গুরুত্ব পায় না।

We forget to talk about those helpless rain-drenched people. Because they are not the subject matter of our rhetoric, our artistic debates. Our homeland is a big issue to us, however the people of the land are not.

These statements did made a great impact. Bloggers like Bokolom started talking [6] about ways to save the water-clogged people in Chittagong, stop cutting hills which caused the mudslide, and how to help the affected families.

arild.jpg [7]

Arild and some other bloggers went to Chittagong and reported about the situation [8]. Bangladeshi Bloggers, students from all over the world started raising funds [9] for the victims [10]. Trivuz suggested [11] how a person could save money from the victims, from cigarette, tea consumptions or curtailing telephone call durations. He also reports about the activities of the second team of bloggers in action including photographs here [12].

bloggers-responding.jpg [13]

Arild points towards [8] some more potential:

the blog community can stand united and mobilise both your online and offline networks, to help some of the affected people. they will need help for a long time. we will see humayun tomorrow, but who will see him next week, next month and next year. can he take the place of his mother for his younger brothers? will he be able to build them to be the men their mother wanted them to become? that is what the blog community can do here through giving time, advice and small help to the many humayuns which are out there among the land slide victims and the victims of disasters to come.

As a blogger are you aware of your social responsibilities?