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IFS-EMMAUS Activists in Bangladesh: Distribution of Humanitarian Aid to Rohingya Muslims


Last week, IFS-EMMAUS employees- Mohammad Yaser Sabbagh and Elmedin Škrebo were in visit to refugee camps in Bangladesh (region Cox Bazar) in order to help the refugees, Rohingya Muslims situated in refugee camps. Financial assistance was provided thanks to Bosnian Islamic cultural centre in Berlin as one of the major donors in the Appeal to help Rohingya people together with other smaller donations, that significantely helped IFS-EMMAUS action. The funds were used at the spot to buy sheets, food, hygiene supplies, clothes and shoes, as stated in IFS-EMMAUS public media address.

This region of Cox Bazar is a multimillion city on border of Bangladesh and Burma. Around 800.000 people found refugee and shelter in this city. This is an unofficial data but it is assumed that the number of Rohingya Muslims is around one million. The whole region of south Bangladesh including Cox Bazar is one big refugee camp.

There are a number of smaller and larger refugee settlements from a few dozen families to those with thousands and more. Their home is an improvised tent of plastic and wood on the ground. They do not have basic living needs: drinking water, food, hygiene supplies, or toilet. The days are spent wandering around the camp waiting for someone to share some food or something they need. And they need all!

„The life of local population isn’t better compared to Rohingya refugees because both population live in extreme poverty but nonetheless the locals offered their humble homes, property to offer shelter. Great help in support and assistance to refugees, offers Bangladeshi army who controls the order and they are present especially during distribution in order to prevent misuse.

Lack of food is the biggest problem but also climate changes, huge rains. It is not enough to provide food but also protect health and secure a home. Listening and indulging to the needs and requests of  refugee with whom our partner organization IHH works from the beginning, we visited one part of refugee camp called Balukhali where we distributed sheets and blankets to hundred Rohingya families.

During their stay, they visited other camps- Gundum, schools where they distributed school supplies and clothes (to boys gym suits and to the girls traditional skirt and shirts) and a hospital.

The schools are made from tree branches. With 210 kids work 6 teachers on improvised muddy terrains with no material except the one donated by IHH organization, sitting on the floor.

„We have passed through few paths of this village even the contagious parts. We noticed that all the families throw their facilities in shallow ditches passing through the tents where they live. Children play around without surveillance, barefoot and some even shirtless exposed to all the negativities of collective life.

Hunger and penury are daily life for people who already suffered enough. How many children go to sleep on dirty rough ground by empty stomachs? Imagine yourself in their situation for at least one day, one hour.

Let’s take the destiny of Rohingya Muslims as lesson and as a test and a possibility to change it, to help those who suffer most.