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More than 650,000 people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance after fleeing violence in Myanmar to seek safety in Bangladesh. With the arrival of the monsoon season, now even more lives are at risk.
Most of the refugees are Rohingya women and children who have been forced to leave their homes in north Rakhine, arriving in Bangladesh exhausted, injured and traumatised after walking for days.
They desperately need shelter, clean water, food and medical aid. As the rainy season begins in Bangladesh, 100,000 people now face life-threatening risks from mudslides and floods.
“The safety of the Rohingya refugees in the camps – particularly women and girls – is extremely fragile,” says Farah Kabir, ActionAid Country Director in Bangladesh. “They have been through a terrible ordeal to get here and now the monsoons threaten to deal a fatal blow, by damaging shelters and spreading disease.”
Hailstorms, heavy wind and lightening could have a devastating impact on families living in the refugee camps. Flooding may prevent thousands of refugees from receiving aid and if toilets and wastewater overflow, the risk of waterborne diseases is high.
‘The journey was like hell’
Sitara, 35, fled Myanmar with her family, fearing that her children may be targeted for slaughter. "We were told our children would be arrested and killed. They were cutting the throats of young boys and shooting older men," she says.
After escaping immediate danger they faced further hardship: "The journey was like hell. There was no food, no sanitation, nowhere to rest. All the adults' legs were swollen because we had to carry our children. We had to carry them on our shoulders, on our backs, on our heads and in our arms."
Now at Cox's Bazar, Sitara now worries that her daughters Morsadika, 10 and Ferdousa, 3, could be at risk from traffickers. "When my daughters grow up, the fear for their safety will become more intense," she says. "When you have daughters that fear is always with you."
"We have this fear or anxiety at night time that if our daughters go out then someone will snatch them and take them away. We are vulnerable, so bad men might see us as targets."
Rohingya refugee crisis: ActionAid’s response in Bangladesh
ActionAid are on the ground in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, with a full-scale humanitarian response that is reaching over 70,000 Rohingya refugees.
Working closely with women-led committees in the camps, we've reached over 40,000 people with food packages and distributed over 13,000 hygiene kits. We've provided 10,000 people with safe drinking water from 20 wells and built 52 latrines for 6,500 people. In addition, 2,000 women and children have access to 20 bathing spaces, and nearly 11,000 women and girls have received information and support in our Women's Safe Spaces.
Now, with the arrival of the monsoon season, we're using sand bags and fencing to stabilize areas that are vulnerable to landslides and improving drainage systems.
We’re helping people in landslide and flood-prone areas of the camp move to better accommodation, as well as implementing a plan to distribute shelter-strengthening materials. We’re also training a network of volunteers in cyclone and flood response, and raising awareness so the community is aware of the risks.
We urgently need your help to support our response to this crisis and make sure the most vulnerable people are protected during the rainy season. Please donate now to help make sure we can reach as many women and girls as possible.
Please donate now
90% of your donation, after our fundraising costs, will go to support our emergency appeal for the Rohingya Crisis Appeal. The remaining 10% will be retained for ActionAid’s Emergency Action Fund which will only be used for ensuring we are prepared and able to respond quickly and more effectively to future emergencies and crises. If the total amount raised for this appeal exceeds the funds needed for the response, ActionAid will transfer the remaining balance to the Emergency Action Fund. All Gift Aid claimed on donations will fund ActionAid’s work across the world, wherever the need is greatest.