The holiest month for Muslims arrives one month into economic shutdown in Bangladesh. BRAC has provided 198,182 families with cash support. Read the latest on the situation in Bangladesh and BRAC’s response.
In Uganda, there are no refugee camps. The Government of Uganda calls them settlements as refugees live with the host community. Refugee families get a piece of land to build their houses, farms, rear cattle and are able to access basic services. They are entitled to social services because of the Refugee Act and Policy of Uganda, the most progressive legal framework in the world, to create a robust protection environment for the refugees.
Humanitarian workers arriving from prior deployments such as Iraq, Lebanon, Damascus or Sudan share that they have never witnessed a crisis of such scale. When looking beyond the horizon of unending tarpaulin rooftops held up by bamboo sticks, across a hilly terrain; it seems like a miracle that a staggering 866,000 people have been living in 5,800 acres of makeshift settlements since August 2017.
10-year-old Abdullah is writing numbers in his notebook, sitting on a bright blue and green mat with the sun pouring in through the thatched bamboo. He writes, without pause and in neat handwriting, from 1 to 20 in Burmese and English. Abdullah attends the temporary learning centre in B26/1 of Balukhali 1 in Cox’s Bazar along with his two brothers.
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.
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.