MYANMAR-BANGLADESH REFUGEE CRISIS
“Could your country pray that we would have peace in Myanmar?” asks Salima*, 26. Her husband and two of her three children were killed in the violence against the Muslim-minority Rohingya in September 2017. *Name changed to protect identity.
Two years on, refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh, (many of whom identify as Rohingya), remain in a desperate situation and protection needs continue to rise. An estimated 890,000 have fled to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Nearly 55% of those are children, joining the existing 200,000 refugees from previous influxes. An estimated 1.3 million people – including in host communities – need water, health and sanitation assistance.
Crisis within a crisis:
After fleeing violence in Myanmar, people living in the world’s largest, most densely populated refugee camp have been battling to survive seasonal monsoon rains. Hazards included flooding, landslides, collapsed or damaged shelters, contaminated water, overflowing latrines and risk of disease outbreaks including cholera. The risk, especially for children, increases significantly during the monsoon season. More than 2.5 metres of rain were forecast from June to August 2018—almost three times the UK’s total average annual rainfall. Thankfully, few lives were lost due to effective disaster mitigation by UN agencies and NGOs, including World Vision.
Entering the third year of this crisis:
We stand at a crossroads as we enter the third year of this protracted humanitarian crisis. The Rohinyga refugees are anxious to return home to Myanmar, when conditions are conducive to do so and their citizenship is recognised. Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen any time soon. Their future hangs in the balance.
Today, the refugees’ essential needs are being met through the combined efforts of the government of Bangladesh, UN agencies and NGOs. Alongside other agencies, we are moving beyond the emergency phase of the crisis and are working on sustainable solutions—both medium and long-term that give the refugees more control over their lives today and that equip them with the skills needed for their eventual return home.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Many thousands have fled from violence or witnessed atrocities. Children have travelled alone, separated from parents or orphaned – with no-one to keep them safe.
For all those who are escaping across the Myanmar - Bangladesh border.
That they might find a place of safety, with shelter and basic provisions - where they can feel free from fear.
Particularly for those who are most vulnerable.
Children and pregnant mothers who are arriving severely malnourished and urgently in need of nutritious food.
For the Government of Bangladesh.
That they might continue to show compassion for their neighbours and make the best decisions for all refugees.
For global leaders.
That together they can find peaceful and effective solutions to help those seeking refuge from Myanmar.
For international donors.
So that they may continue to provide much needed, timely funding to support ongoing aid efforts.
For all the World Vision staff in Bangladesh, as they support hundreds of thousands of children and families.
Give them the wisdom, strength, resources and compassion to help wherever there is need. For all World Vision Myanmar staff that have been caught up in this crisis and particularly for those who are now refugees in Bangladesh as a result of the violence.
HOW ARE WE HELPING?
World Vision has been working in Bangladesh and Myanmar since 1972 and 1991, respectively, helping the most vulnerable children and families through both relief and long-term development work.
Our Myanmar-Bangladesh Refugee Crisis Response has reached approximately 371,611 refugees (approximately 223,000 of those are children), plus 25,000 people from the local host community.
Through the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal, we have achieved the following: 3,229 refugees are benefiting from 20 DEC-funded community kitchens. These are safe spaces for women to cook for their families in a safe and environmentally-friendly way. Besides being a place to cook, the kitchens also act as learning centres. The women learn about nutrition and healthy food preparation, and personal and household hygiene.
2,509 refugees now have access to safe drinking water through tube-wells, and to appropriate sanitation facilities through gender-appropriate latrines and washing facilities.
9,401 women and children benefitted from the Women and Girls Safe Spaces, where they received psychosocial support. Peer-to-peer support groups amongst girls were established for counselling, and women were referred for quality maternal health care.
Watch this video to understand more about WV and our work in this context:
Together, we have already achieved so much – but there is much more to do.
World Vision strives to improve the wellbeing and empowerment of refugee and host communities. We are also promoting and protecting their rights through our advocacy work with international, national and local governments. Our goal is to help protect the safety and dignity of refugees in the camps, and advocate for their safe, dignified and voluntary return to Myanmar when conditions are right to do so.
As we enter Year Three of the response, we will strengthen and expand this rights-based approach in our work with the Rohingya and their host-community neighbours.
Year Three promises to be a time of growth and innovation. Beyond ensuring quality protection and educational services, we will strengthen our special focus on adolescents’ needs. Expanding our community cooking and learning centres will enable mothers to develop new income-generating skills. And we will continue to equip boys and men as champions for the protection of girls and women.
Most importantly, vulnerable children will remain at the centre of all we do.
STORIES AND BLOGS
61 NGOs warn of worsening crisis in Myanmar, call for refugees’ engagement on safe, voluntary returnsWednesday 21, Aug, 2019
World Vision is one of 61 local, national and international NGOs working in Myanmar and Bangladesh calling for Rohingya refugees…
World Vision is delivering life-sustaining aid to hundreds of thousands of children and their families as monsoon rains lash the…