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Bangladesh © Sébastien Duijndam
pour Action contre la Faim

À la Une

1 YEAR AFTER THE ROHINGYA'S EXODUS

What futur for the Rohingya ?

Today, more than 900 000 people are being accommodated in makeshift camps in the region of Cox’s Bazar. While their living conditions are extremely precarious, there is no political solution on the horizon and the future of these families remains up in the air.

Targeted violence

A Muslim minority from the State of Rakhine in the west of Myanmar, the Rohingya people are continually subject to being persecuted by the State and their different armed forces since the 1950s. Not recognised by the Government, the Rohingya are stateless, that is, they have no citizenship. This discrimination together with movement restrictions and limited access to basic services in their region of origin, makes for a very vulnerable population.

In August 2017, an attack led by some rebel Rohingya against the police stations triggered a new wave of unprecedented violence and repressions against the civilians.Villages burnt, murders, rape, the stories told by the survivors are spine-chilling and canvas the scene of an uncompromising desire to eradicate them.

Within a few months, nearly 700 000 people fled Rakhine to find refuge in Bangladesh, walking for days. Half of them being children.

Bangladesh © Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

© Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

Bangladesh © Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

© Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

Bangladesh © Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

© Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

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living in the camp

On site, they live in makeshift shelters. Even though the access to basic services such as latrines, water, food, medical care have improved during the last year, the conditions are still appalling inparticular during the current rainy season.

The topography of the Kutupalong Balukhali mega camp, the main site where more than 600000people are living, is hilly. Coupled with the deterioration and never-ending rain, this is provoking landslides and floods that are threatening the fragile shelters made of bamboo and plastic sheets. More than 200000 people are directly under threat by these dangers.

In parallel, overcrowding, poverty, lack of access to resources and deplorable sanitary conditions areconducive to diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, respiratory illness, and malnutrition. Close to38 % of the children suffer stunted growth and 12 % are being treated for severe malnutrition1.

IMG_1442 © Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

Bangladesh

© Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

IMG_3494 © Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

Bangladesh

© Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

IMG_4462 © Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

Bangladesh

© Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

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Our response

Having witnessed the arrival of the first influx of people in August 2017, our teams have responded to the more urgent needs; mobile distribution of hot meals, water and psychological support.

Today, our response isin stature with the immensity of the crisis. Nearly 900 employees and more than 1 300 community volunteers coming from the Rohingya community working day after day tosupport these vulnerable people. In one year, more than 700000 people have benefited from support given with respect to nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, mental support and care practices, food security and livelihoods.

Every day, more than 11 000 meals are handed out. Our teams, aided by Rohingya volunteers, arerunning 10 community kitchens, 18 mobile healthcare centres, and 5 24/7 healthcare centres operating.

More than 18 500 infants suffering from severe acute malnutrition are being treated. 19000pregnant and breast-feeding women have benefited from medical assistance and advice for taking care of their health and that of their children. More than 350000 people have received mental and psychological support to treat their stress and overcome their traumas. 38 200 emergency kits for building shelters have been distributed as well as nearly 24000 hygiene kits containing soap, detergent, toothbrushes and menstrual hygiene products. More than 230 drinking water points and a thousand latrines have been installed. In addition to individual services, our teams have been incharge of certain areas of the camp and have performed nearly 200 interventions for consolidating installations and ensuring the safety of the people: construction of stairs and bridges in bamboo, strengthening of zones subject to landslides, awareness and relocation of families under threat.

What does the future hold?

On the 6 June, the Myanmar government signed an agreement with the United Nations authorising them to come and inspect Rakhine to work jointly on the repatriation process. Nearly two months later, the international agencies have still not visited the place.From the Bangladesh side, the government is thinking about relieving the camps by moving 100000 people toan island that iscurrently susceptible to flooding.

« We have been told that the repatriation process is going to start shortly. The international organisations are waiting for access tobe granted on the other side of the border. Repatriation hastocomply with international standards, under a voluntary basis and guaranteeing complete safety. For us, the emergency is now: people are still suffering, the camps are in a bad shape and only 25% of global humanitarian aid has been secured» concludes Mahadi Muhammad, the local director ofAction Against Hunger in Cox’s Bazar.

When the question is asked to those primarily concerned, the majority give the same answer: « Weare not returning without the guarantee that we will no longer be persecuted »


1. https://www.savethechildren.net/article/nearly-40-percent-rohingya-children-cox-s-bazar-are-stunted-new-study

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