It is five months today since 688,000 forcibly displaced Rohingyas migrated to Bangladesh from Myanmar. BRAC has been on the ground delivering humanitarian support from two weeks after the influx began. To date, we have reached over 620,000 Rohingyas with critical services, making up the largest civil society response to the crisis.
A woman’s handbag seemingly contains a world of mystery. Her phone, keys, wallet, some tissue to wipe the nose, a sanitary pad just in case, maybe sunglasses, and receipts from the supermarket. But what does one carry in a crisis?
There was a freak snow storm in the Sahara last week, the surreal images creating a flurry on the internet. On the other side, Sydney is experiencing the hottest summer on record. At home, a severe cold wave is sweeping over northern Bangladesh.
When the rest of the world relates ‘self-defense’ to learning physical, martial arts skills, what does it mean for young girls from a displaced community, which also happens to be the world’s most persecuted minority? Do they realise that raising voices can be one of the most critical tools in their self-defence kits? Our social workers have begun empowering adolescent girls from the Rohingya community by creating awareness of their own agency.
People stretched as far as I could see. Young, old and every age in between, all standing in lines for hours to receive food. What most shocked me was the number of children. There were just so many of them. So many hungry eyes.
A diphtheria outbreak in the Rohingya makeshift settlements has killed 20 people as of December 17, 2017. With 1,500 suspected cases, the number is growing. The 656,000 Rohingya people who sleep every night without electricity, dream in the colours of recent trauma and wake up to uncertainty, cannot afford to be hurt further.
Almost each day these days, I wake up and make my way to the makeshift camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar, the site of the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis of recent times. Life in these settlements is brutal- I see the struggles of the women, men and children who have recently arrived, most exhausted and traumatised.
Deep inside the chaotic makeshift settlements of Kutupalong, Cox’s Bazar, is a spacious, shaded, colourful place. A bamboo structure with handmade decorations hanging from the walls. Curious onlookers gather outside the thatched windows, attracted by the rhythm.
From a bird’s-eye-view, if one were to look at the vast settlements where people from Rakhine state of Myanmar are currently residing, they would see many pink dots purposefully moving about. This rush of pink are BRAC’s women humanitarian workers delivering life-saving services, specifically to women and girls who make up more than half of the 589,000 people who have come to Bangladesh since 25 August.
Over 582,000 people from the Rakhine State of Myanmar have crossed into Bangladesh since August 25th. They are living in extremely cramped, extremely unhygienic conditions, and more people are arriving every day.