press release

International oil and gas companies donate US$1 million for Bangladesh flood rehabilitation

Dhaka, Nov. 16, 1998 - Four international oil and gas companies joined together to donate US$1 million for flood relief and rehabilitation in Bangladesh.

Cairn Energy PLC, Occidental Oil and Gas, Shell and Unocal Corporation made donations to CARE Bangladesh and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B).

The four companies pooled the funds so that the collective donations would have significant impact on Bangladesh's ability to recover quickly from this year's catastrophic flooding.

The group of companies is donating US$500,000 to CARE Bangladesh, which will rehabilitate and flood-proof about 50 villages located in two of the most devastated areas of Bangladesh. All rehabilitation activities support the efforts of community residents to cope with the floods, instituting preventive measures that will help them protect their assets in the event of future flooding. Activities include raising the level of community structures and housing, and reinforcing riverbanks so that future flooding will not have such damaging effects. CARE will also construct sanitation systems and institute natural erosion-prevention measures.

The US$500,000 pledged to ICDDR,B will be used for combating the outbreak of diarrhoeal diseases, which has reached an alarming stage as a result of this year's flood. The funds will also be used for research to improve preventive and curative measures. These efforts will be undertaken in ICDDR,B hospitals in Dhaka and Matlab where the number of patients this year reached 1000 per day, the highest in history.

Flood relief will also be provided in more remote areas of Bangladesh, by the Epidemic Control Preparedness Programme (ECPP). The Environmental Health Programme (EHP), will work countrywide by rehabilitating tubewells and improving overall sanitation and hygiene. "Bangladesh has experienced some of the worst floods in 1998. The magnitude of the 1998 flood is overwhelming and we are grateful for this donation from Bangladesh's foreign investors" said Major General (Retd.) M.R. Choudhury, a member of the ICDDR,B's Board of Trustees.

"We are supporting the efforts of these two organisations because of their knowledge about local needs and understanding of the importance of post-flood rehabilitation." said a spokesperson for the four companies, "This contribution reflects our long term commitment to helping people in local communities wherever we do business. Support from the private sector is essential in helping Bangladesh through these difficult times."

All four companies are actively involved in gas exploration and development throughout Bangladesh and have made significant investments in expanding the energy infrastructure in recent years.

Updated: November 1998