COX’S BAZAR, BANGLADESH, March 24, 2021 — This past Monday, a devastating fire ripped through a densely populated campsite on the border of Bangladesh that is home to thousands of Rohingya refugees. As of this morning, at least 15 people are dead while hundreds remain missing and an estimated 45,000 have been displaced.
This is the second such fire this year alone, and the largest one yet.
Many Rohingya have lost everything — again.
We have mobilized relief efforts on the ground in Bangladesh, providing food, shelter, clothing, hygiene kits, home items and other basic necessities to victims of the blaze, and need your support now.
Because the plight of the Rohingya has only become worse.
Considered one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, nearly a million Rohingya fled their native Rakhine State in Myanmar to escape genocide and seek refuge in the hills of Southern Bangladesh.
Years of apartheid-like conditions and violent ethnic cleansing drove people from their homes with only the clothes on their back. Harboring stories of mass murder, rape, and deliberate destruction, traumatized Rohingya settled in makeshift tents that have grown into blocks of camps along the Bangladeshi border.
There are 34 such camps in Cox’s Bazar, many of which are identified by numbers, letters, or a combination of both. Rohingya in these camps face:
- cholera outbreaks and other water-borne diseases
- communicable diseases such as diarrhea, rashes, and lice
- malnutrition and stunting in children (an estimated 30% of children under 5)
- weather-related disasters such as floods and landslides, especially during monsoon seasons
- high risk of campfires, such as one that destroyed over 500 shelters earlier this year and the recent blaze that tore through Balukhali camps 9, 10, 8E, and 8W
- displacement after such disasters — with little belongings and nowhere to go.
Their situation in these camps after barely surviving with their lives when fleeing violence was already bleak. Overcrowding, lack of adequate sanitation facilities, minimal access to safe drinking water and overall poverty only heightened the risk of COVID-19 within the Rohingya community in the last year — and now, what little they had is gone in an instant.
Your generous donations have helped improve the lives of Rohingya in Bangladesh, such as installing an electric tubewell to provide clean water, providing nutritious meals, and delivering winter aid, but now, they need your support as they reel from a horrible blaze that decimated everything.