The Rohingya are an ethnic minority residing in the country of Myanmar and are thought to have a population of around 1 million. Tensions around the Rohingya turned into violence against them in August forcing thousands of Rohingya women, men and children to leave their homes in Myanmar to seek refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. Already over 626,000 people have made their journey by either land or sea to find help in often overcrowded refugee camps. Lacking access to safe hygiene facilities, limited food and shelter resources leaves many people vulnerable – the bottom line: the fight to survive does not end when they leave Myanmar.
Over half the population arriving in Bangladesh are girls and women who are often more vulnerable to both violence and rape. Kolima is one of these women. She has shared her story with ADRA from inside one of the refugee camps where she has now been living for four months. A five-day journey by foot followed by a boat ride alongside her four children aged 2-12 have led her to where she is today. Her father and mother in law were killed and she does not know where her husband is, Kolima has the sole responsibility of protecting her family. The family shares a make-shift home with 3 other refugee families, made of bamboo and two tarps ties together “we don’t feel secure here” Kolima shares.
Kolima’s story is echoed in the temporary homes of thousands around her who can only hope and wait. Due to their refugee status, the Rohingya people in Bangladesh are unable to find either permanent or temporary work, they have limited access to education for their children and are unable to cultivate land to grow food – they are reliant on humanitarian assistance to receive help. It is estimated that over 200 people will continue to cross the Bangladesh border from Myanmar and arrive into this situation every single day. The capacity of the humanitarian community and country resources are overwhelmed but continue to work towards helping people.
ADRA New Zealand is working alongside the wider ADRA network to contribute to providing aid to the most vulnerable. Already ADRA supporters have helped to contribute shelter kits which will help to provide shelter for 30,000 people living in refugee camps and emergency food packs to help provide food to 45,000 with more plans to continue assisting people living in refugee camps. Greg Young (ADRA South Pacific Division) has shared with us “Whilst we cannot make a difference in everyone’s life, we are making a difference in the lives of those who receive food from us and are provided with accommodation, and one would like to think that our Christian approach to their needs as we interact with them shows that we really care and are not just doing a job”. ADRA New Zealand plans to continue supporting refugees in Bangladesh through providing emergency resources over the next few months. Thank you for your continued support.
If you would like to help support ADRAs relief efforts, please make a donation today.