Appeal for flood victims

SUFFOLK'S Bangladeshi community leaders are appealing today for help to stave off starvation and disease in their flood-hit home country. Many restaurants in Ipswich and Felixstowe are staging fundraising events, staff donating wages and holding collections to help the millions who are suffering.

SUFFOLK'S Bangladeshi community leaders are appealing today for help to stave off starvation and disease in their flood-hit home country.

Many restaurants in Ipswich and Felixstowe are staging fundraising events, staff donating wages and holding collections to help the millions who are suffering.

Some 600 people have died in Bangladesh and 30 million been left homeless with water covering 60 per cent of the country.

The floodwaters have caused £4.5 billion damage to the poorest areas, leaving hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland underwater, as well as roads and factories.


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Ipswich men Syed Robbani and Ali Muktar spoke of the desperation faced by relatives and friends engulfed by floodwater in their home town of Sylhet in the west of the country.

Mr Muktar, 51, said: "People are hungry, it is a desperate situation. Friends and my brothers and sister have been affected. Their homes are under two or three feet of water. We are doing all we can to help them."

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Mr Robbani, 44, the business partner of Mr Muktar and chairman of Bangladeshi community group the Ipswich Jogonath Pur Association, said the 5,000 strong Ipswich community reacted with horror at devastation and destruction to one of the world's poorest countries.

"Everyone was very shocked, everyone is helping their country as much as they can. We are praying for safety in Bangladesh," he said.

A founder trustee of the Shah Jalal Mosque in St Helen's street, Mr Muktar and Mr Robbani are planning to open their Taj Mahal restaurant in Norwich Road to raise money for the flood victims.

"We want to raise £1,000 or more. We are opening our restaurant from 12pm to midnight on August 29. It will be eat as much as you like for £15. Money raised will go to Bangladesh," said Mr Muktar.

Other restaurants are also rallying round.

Boshor Ali is staging a charity buffet at the Jorna in Wherstead Road, Ipswich, on September 6 and is inviting the town's mayor and MP, and also TV personality Griff Rhys Jones.

"Everyone wants to do all they can to support the people caught up in this terrible situation and all the money from the night will go to the appeal," he said.

Anwar Hussein is holding a lunchtime charity buffet at the Blue Naan, Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, at 1pm on September 5 and is inviting town mayor Don Smith as well as officials from the Bangladesh Embassy in London. He has set up a charity called Anwar's Welfare Trust to aid the flood victims.

"Everyone should do their best to help their brothers and sisters - there are people suffering dreadfully in Bangladesh and it is a very serious situation and we want to do all we can," he said.

Staff at the Bekash Tandoori Restaurant, Meredith Road, Ipswich, have raised £500.

Manager Abdul Motlib, 38, who came from Bangladesh when he was 12, said: "Every year people lose their belongings, crops and livelihoods and this year it has been extremely bad. The international community needs to try and resolve the problems once and for all."

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