Rochdale MP Paul Rowen visits Cyclone Sidr Hit Sylhet

Paul rowen in SylhetA TRIP to Bangladesh showed Rochdale MP Paul Rowen how people managed to recover after the horrors of Cyclone Sidr, which hit the country in November last year.

On his travels Mr Rowen was able to journey to the Sylhet region, the tea capital of Bangladesh where many Rochdale residents come from.

The visit was organised by Kermat Ahmed, a former Rochdale councillor.

Mr Rowen said: “I was hugely impressed by the friendliness of the people and the hard work undertaken by teachers and medical staff.

“I was particularly impressed with a group of young Red Crescent volunteers who have worked in southern Bangladesh following the cyclone.

paul rowen in sylhet with orphans“These young people showed great commitment working in very difficult circumstances.”

The cyclone killed thousands of people and destroyed many more homes.

During the tour Mr Rowen also got to meet the British high commissioner Anwar Choudhury in Dhaka.

Mr Choudhury is the youngest British high commissioner of any country in the world and he grew up in Rochdale.

Born in Bangladesh, Mr Choudhury moved to Rochdale at a young age and attended Greenhill School.

Mr Rowen presented him with a Rochdale AFC shirt, which he wore proudly.

Mr Choudhury was injured in a terrorist grenade attack in Sylhet in 2004.

Three people were killed in the blast and dozens more injured, but the high commissioner went on to develop his reputation as a top international diplomat.

Mr Rowen added: “The high commissioner was delighted to receive the shirt and promptly put it on to the delight of staff at the Commission.

“It is clear he has not forgotten his Rochdale roots and he is a great role model for the people of Rochdale.

Mr Rowen discussed issues relating to work visas with Mr Choudhury and both were keen to set up a link between his old school and a school in Bangladesh.

Mr Rowen’s visit was followed by a charity fundraiser which was organised with the Bangladeshi Association Community Project. The event took place at Rochdale Town Hall where £3500 was raised. Mr Rowen was confident the target of £5000 would be achieved.