Church groups in Bangladesh distributed warm clothes for the peoples of Queen of Fatima Catholic Church in Thakurgaon district as winter chill began to hit the northern part of the country. (photo: Supplied)

By UCA News Reporter, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dec 9 2020

Each winter season kills hundreds of poor in South Asia as they lack proper winter clothes

Church groups in Bangladesh have started distributing warm clothes and blankets to poor people as winter spells began to hit the country’s northern regions.

Bangladesh Meteorological Department recorded the lowest 10.6-degree Celsius temperature in northern Kurigram district on Dec. 7 and reported mild to heavy fog in the country’s river basin areas.

Officials said temperatures in the north might slip further below just like last year. In 2019, the lowest temperature was recorded at 4.5-degree Celsius in the Panchagarh district.

Bangladesh’s northern region is covered by Rajshahi and Dinajpur Catholic dioceses.

Catholics in Thakurgaon district under Dinajpur Diocese distributed warm clothes and blankets to 600 people, including Christians, Hindus, and Muslims, from until Dec. 7. 

“People in our area suffer a lot during winter. They badly need jackets and blankets. There are poor. They try to battle winter by wearing two or three saris together,” said diocesan Father Anthony Sen. 

Father Sen said that every year the diocese offers warm clothes and blankets to people. He said Caritas, the social service arm of the Church, provided some jackets.

“We need more. There are thousands of needy people who need immediate support,” the priest said.

Dhireshar Barman, 56, a local Catholic, received one jacket and a blanket from the Church group on Dec. 7.

“I’m delighted to get warm clothes, but my family and many people in the area need more clothes and blankets to survive the winter,” Barman, daily laborer, told UCA News.

During winter, he said they do not have regular work and income and do not have money to buy good clothes. “People like us often burn hey to keep themselves warm, which is a temporary solution,” he added.

Caritas in Rajshahi and Dinajpur regions have recently received funds to provide winter clothes and blankets, a senior Caritas official said.

Each region has given some US$ 1,786) on an emergency basis, and more will be provided as necessary, the official said. 

A Christian Facebook group, called We Are Bangladeshi Christians, collects used clothes from Christian families in the capital Dhaka to distribute to poor people in northern areas.

Sagar Sonjib Corraya, an organizer, appealed to people on social media to offer used clothes.

 “This time, with a new consciousness and a new plan, we would like to help people in need,” Corraya said.

Cold wave kills hundreds of, mostly poor people, in Bangladesh and elsewhere in South Asia each year as they do not have proper food and cloth to withstand the harsh weather. – UCANews