Stanley Peele: Helping survivors of the Bangladesh factory collapse

May. 16, 2013 @ 04:36 PM

Americans are generous people. We are quick to reach into our pockets to help those in need. Local tragedies have caused us to respond with huge donations. The Boston Marathon attack, which produced numerous injuries and three deaths, has caused us to quickly donate large amounts of money. It dominated the news for several days, it was the main topic of talk shows and is still in the news.

However, our generosity wanes when a tragedy is far away from our shores.

The garment factory collapse on April 24 in Savar, Bangladesh, killed at least 1,033 people, and there will be more. Newspaper coverage dropped off after May 5. Some newspapers stopped reporting on the tragedy when the death count was 400. So some Americans are unaware that the death toll has increased. The TV news coverage has sharply dwindled, and the subject has been ignored by recent talk shows.

Some people have asked me, “How can we help those that are suffering as the result of this disaster?” This is not an easy question.

In the first place, the Bangladesh government has refused to accept foreign aid.

The best place to check on the legitimacy of charities is the Charity Navigator website. They cover many tragedies on their web page. Yet there is not one word there about the Savar tragedy.

The following well-known charities do not say anything on their web sites about the Savar tragedy: World Relief, Oxfam, Mercy Corps, Doctors Without Borders and CARE.

I have looked up charities that are helping the people of Savar. It is difficult to find out if the charities are legitimate. They may all be fine charities, but I could only find good evidence of legitimacy in the first three. 

There is a Facebook page that shows the tremendous activity of those giving aid to the survivors (although it only goes up to April. 30), at facebook.com/notes/nafis-hasan/savar-tragedy-how-you-can-help-as-of-now. 

Here are just some of the charities helping the people of Savar. There are many more.

1.  SAVE THE CHILDREN. This is a highly reputable charity, which has been given a four star rating by Charity Navigator. They are in Bangladesh right now, helping people.   Mail: 54 Wilton Rd., Westport CT 06880.

2.  LUTHERAN HEALTH CARE BANGLADESH. They have the means to get to the area and do some good. Mail: 1669 N Arcade St., Ste. 100, St. Paul, MN 55106.

3.  RED CRESCENT SOCIETY. It works with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Mail: Red Crescent Sarah, GPO Box 579, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

4.  HUNGER FREE WORLD. Mail: 2/8 BLOCK F, Lalmatia, Dhaka 1207, Bangladesh.

5.  ANKUR INTERNATIONAL. Mail: Box 5368,  Beavertown, OR, 97006.

6.  BUET 87 FOUNDATION. Mail: 3244 Washington Ave., Gilbert, AZ 85234. 

 

Stanley Peele is a retired judge.