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Assisting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Ros O'Sullivan | 21 September 2017 | 0 Comments

Concern’s Head of Emergency Operations, Ros O’Sullivan, reports from the Cox’s Bazar area of south eastern Bangladesh where Concern is providing assistance to the influx of Rohingya refugees fleeing from violence in Myanmar.

Rohingya refugees arriving to Cox’s Bazar after a ten day walk from Myanmar. They are sheltering under a makeshift structure requiring food, water shelter and healthcare. Photo: Bijoy Krishna Nath/Concern Worldwide.

Families like those pictured above have travelled for up to ten days to get to this place of sanctuary, from inside Myanmar. They will have carried few belongings because they have to walk with their children and can only carry what’s on their backs – literally. 

Refugees arrive with virtually nothing

The profile of the refugees is mainly women and children along with the very old, so there’s little opportunity to carry much with them as they have fled their home areas. What few assets they have, a few animals in some cases and a few valuables, have been sold along the way – or in some cases – taken from them in exchange for basic foodstuffs. Most have arrived with virtually nothing but their lives and the lives of their children.

Rohingya refugees arriving to Cox’s Bazar after a fleeing from Myanmar sheltering under a makeshift structure. Photo: Bijoy Krishna Nath/Concern Worlwide.

In need of support

Refugees arriving to Cox’s Bazar are in need of shelter, food, water and healthcare. They require reassurance that they are safe and will be looked after and that the world cares about what is happening to them. Many are traumatised by what has happened in recent weeks. 

Challenges ahead

The government in Bangladesh is responding to the influx of refugees from Myanmar, however the numbers are increasing daily and they are working with aid agencies to scale up their response. Key challenges are the rains and access issues caused by heavy rains and poor secondary road conditions. Many of the refugees have yet to be reached with assistance and the coming weeks will be telling.

Rohingya refugees arriving to Cox’s Bazar after a ten day walk from Myanmar. Photo: Bijoy Krishna Nath/Concern Worldwide.

Concern’s response

Concern, which has been working in Bangladesh since 1972, is mobilising country teams to urgently respond to the crisis. But with severe flooding still affecting other parts of the country, our emergency resources are stretched.

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