South Asia • Bangladesh

Aid for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Since August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people have fled from their homes in Myanmar to the neighbouring Bangladesh to escape violence and persecution. The refugee camps are completely overcrowded and the sanitation and hygiene situation is catastrophic. AWO International provides safe shelters, clothing and hygiene items for 5,000 people. In addition, toilets and wells are built.

[Translate to Englisch:] In Zusammenarbeit mit lokalen Partnerorganisationen unterstützt AWO International geflüchtete Rohingya. Sie erhalten sichere Unterkünfte, Kleidung und Hygieneartikel. (Foto: AJGHANI/ AWO International)AWO International supports Rohingya refugees together with local partner organisations. The Rohinga refugees receive safe shelters, clothing and hygiene items. (Picture: AJGHANI/ AWO International)

For generations, about one million Muslim Rohingya lived in Myanmar. Nevertheless, they have been discriminated for decades and were deprived of their citizenship in 1982. In August 2017, violence escalated and hundreds of thousands of people fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. Most of them arrive in the border district of Cox's Bazar, which had already been marked by extreme poverty and natural disasters. Mainly women, children and old people are seeking shelter. They arrive in completely overcrowded refugee camps. Countless people have no roof over their heads, no access to clean drinking water, suffer from hunger and are traumatized.

Fast support for 5,000 refugees

AWO International reacted immediately and released funds from the Emergency Relief Fund for emergency measures. On the site an AWO team works together with local partner organisations to support the Rohingya refugees. In a first aid project, 1,000 households (about 5,000 people) in the Myonarghonna refugee camp are provided with basic necessities. The camp is an extension of the Balukhali Camp, which was originally intended as a transitional accommodation but will now be maintained in the longer term.

The refugees receive materials such as bamboo, tarpaulins and ropes to build temporary and safe shelters. Blankets, mattresses and clothing are also distributed to help them to get through the winter. In addition to the building materials and equipment for the winter, we provide hygiene kits and cooking utensils for 275 households and ensure the supply of clean drinking water and toilets for more than 500 households. For this purpose, 7 deep wells were constructed, which pump water from a depth of more than 200 metres. "This is important to prevent diseases and epidemics, as the hygienic and sanitation situation on site remains catastrophic," says Mukund Singh, AWO International's Emergency Relief Coordinator. In addition, our local team supports people with basic hygiene, health promotion and waste management.

The need for humanitarian aid remains enormous

According to the Bangladeshi government, 823,000 Rohingya are living in 20 refugee camps. Many people are severely traumatized by violence and flight. An estimated number of 65,000 unaccompanied minors and tens of thousands of pregnant women (also as a result of rape in Myanmar), many of them widows, live in these camps.

"The need for humanitarian aid remains enormous," reports our colleague Felix Neuhaus, who visited the refugee camps in December. "Together with our partner organizations, our team is working hard to reach as many people in need as possible. We coordinate the aid measures with government institutions, the United Nations and other national and international aid organizations," said Neuhaus.

The future for the Rohingya refugees remains uncertain. The governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar have signed an agreement concerning the return of the refugees. But for many it is not clear where to return to: Their villages and fields have been destroyed, and they are simply afraid of the traumatic experiences they have had. Experts agree that the camps will remain in place for the next years.

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Project information

ProjectAid for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh
Place/RegionFlüchtlingscamp Moynarghona/ Balukhali, Cox´s Bazar
Target group

5.000 geflüchtete Rohingya

  • Materials and support for the construction of safe and solid emergency shelters
  • Distribution of hygiene kits and cookware
  • Distribution of winter proof mattresses, blankets, clothing
  • Construction of toilets and sanitary facilities
  • Construction of wells for clean drinking water
  • Measures for basic hygiene, health promotion and waste disposal
Budget103.000 Euro
SponsorSpenden, Solidar Suisse, AWO-Eigenmittel

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