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For decades, the daily life of the Rohingya in Myanmar has been marked by oppression, exclusion and violence. The last violent attack by the military in late August 2017 resulted in a mass exodus to Bangladesh. Nearly a million Rohingya, including many women and children, have sought protection in the border region around Cox's Bazar in the district of Chittagong in south-eastern Bangladesh. They are severely traumatized by the violence in Myanmar and have lost everything.
But even in Bangladesh, their situation is extremely precarious. Refugees are subject to strict conditions, are not allowed to move freely or do work. Most live in makeshift camps, many have to sleep outdoors. Everywhere there is a lack of clean drinking water, sanitary facilities and medical care. Food is also scarce. Particularly at risk are vulnerable people such as unaccompanied women with children. «Mothers with two or more children soon find themselves in a state of acute emergency. Infants do not get enough to eat. Girls and women are exposed to great risks.» says Amrita Rozario, an employee of Caritas Switzerland in Bangladesh. «The needs are immense.» The approaching monsoon season threatens a massive aggravation of the situation in the camps.
Caritas network brings aid to refugees in the border region
Caritas Bangladesh, supported by Caritas Switzerland and other organizations from the international Caritas network, is providing aid to Rohingya refugees in the region around Cox's Bazaar and in other areas. They distribute food and household items such as plastic sheeting, dishes or blankets to thousands of families. They also provide people with hygiene kits containing soaps, babies' nappies, water cans, buckets and other items of basic personal hygiene. Caritas Bangladesh aid reaches some 250 000 people.
Caritas Switzerland aid
Caritas Switzerland has also started a project with aid amounting to 870 000 francs. In collaboration with Caritas Bangladesh, it is distributing items of hygiene and protective gear for 11 700 people (1800 families). Each family receives hygiene kits with water containers and drinking beakers, cleaning products, toiletries especially for children, nail clippers and items of personal hygiene for girls and women. The families also receive mosquito nets, cooking and eating utensils and assorted materials for setting up tents.
With the help of local workmen, Caritas Switzerland is building 10 groundwater wells. The wells will provide access to drinking water for a total of 500 families. In addition, 40 latrines are to be installed, for use by a total of 2000 people. Furthermore, 20 washhouses will make personal hygiene facilities available to 1000 inhabitants of the refugee camps. The project is supported by Swiss Solidarity.
More people are still fleeing from Myanmar to Bangladesh. To expand its own help, Caritas Switzerland is dependent upon support. Thank you for your donation to account number 60-7000-4 (Note: «Rohingya»).