An Operation Mobilization team received a phone call about a fire sweeping through a slum in Bangladesh and immediately responded to the chaotic event. Fire engines lined up in the road the length of the slum, and local people helped hold hoses and frantically pass buckets of water along a line, reports MNN.
Some families were able to grab a few belongings, but most left with just the clothes they were wearing. Drenched from the hoses and ankle-deep in water and cinders, families could only watch in disbelief as their homes turned to ash. As the fire died down and the hoses were rolled away, the families went to look at the wreckage of their homes.
Five years ago, many of these families lost everything they had in a similar fire. It had taken months and much support to help them get back on their feet. Now, five years later, this fire has spread even farther through the slum, moving with immense speed from alleyway to alleyway in the warm dry weather. The fire is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault in a locked home.
“Within a few minutes of arriving, it was clear that no one had been killed or badly injured,” said a team member gratefully. “That helps keep everything in some sort of perspective. It was so humbling to hear people voicing their thanks for God’s mercy, even as tears poured down their cheeks as they thought of what they had lost. Yet the fire could so easily have broken out at night, causing even more dreadful damage and loss.”
The following days have been busy for the team as they work hard to remove ashes and rubble. Floors have been swept clean, cinder carefully picked through for anything worth saving, and warped tin has been stacked in the corner of each house to be sold for scrap.
The team gave each family a plastic sheet and two cooking pots with lids and spoons, in addition to the packages of food distributed immediately after the fire. Some from the fellowship in the slum helped with the distribution, even though they had lost everything.
Over 180 families were affected by the fire and helped by Operation Mobilization.
The OM team prays that the families experience Jesus as the Way even through loss and devastation, giving them the strength, comfort. and courage to start again.