Since August 25, 2017 nearly 600,000 Rohingya Muslims, a minority group living in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) have been forced to trade their homes and homeland for refugee status in neighboring Bangladesh following a violent crackdown by the Myanmar military. Reports from the area tell of the atrocities-- the systematic killing of men, women and children, rapes, homes burned, starvation. Conscience International’s program director for Southeast Asia, Richard Sarker, and his team are in the Bangladesh refugee camps delivery food aid.
Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh— This was my first day at the Rohingya refugee camp. It was raining so we were grateful that the rice bags on the truck were covered with tarpaulins, but the two guys traveling on top of the bags were soaked by the time we reached the camp. We made a banner-- Emergency Relief Materials for the Rohingya Refugees—which helped us get through police and military checkpoints and convince them we were not doing anything political or breaking any rules. The military camp where they receive relief materials is a temporary site set up on a college soccer field. It has been covered with gravel to help trucks drive through but our wheels still got stuck in the mud before we reached the storage unit assigned for our delivery. Unfortunately, the smell of rotting potatoes and onions stored in other units has created a pungent odor in the camp, a waste.
We hired local people to unload the truck and store the rice in the huge storage facilities. The Bangladesh military officers were pleased to receive our gift of rice-filled bags but said they need to repackage them in smaller units for easier distribution. I told them that we will do this next time as they were expecting to purchase smaller bags than the ones we have. I am grateful to my team members who worked very hard to accomplish my first mission to the world's largest humanitarian crisis. There is so much more to do here.
Photo: Rohingya refugees traipsing through rain and mud to escape terror in their homeland of Myanmar for refugee settlement in Bangladesh. Photo: Rohingya refugees traipsing through rain and mud to escape terror in their homeland of Myanmar for refugee settlement in Bangladesh.
The Rohingyas, mostly women and children, have walked for days in mud and rain from Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape the brutality and seek food, shelter, and hope for a future. You can help by making a tax-deductible donation in any amount on this secure website or by mail to Conscience International. 44 Milton Ave., Suite 122, Alpharetta, GA USA 30009