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While 5000 Kiwis take part in Oxfam’s Ration Challenge in support of refugees this World Refugee Week, Rohingya refugees are facing life-threatening rains and disease as monsoon rains continue to lash the camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
The impending monsoon rains are bearing down on the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh and there's no getting around it - it’s going to be a really tough time.
I've just finished three weeks working for Oxfam's Rohingya crisis response team in Cox’s Bazar and can remember one moment, standing in the pouring rain in the Rohingya refugee ‘mega-camp’. Everywhere I looked, ramshackle shelters made of bamboo and tarpaulins stretched into the distance.
Over 680,000 Rohingya people have fled violence in Myanmar to seek refuge across the border in Bangladesh. Almost a quarter are pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five. Around 36,000 are unaccompanied children.
This week marks the launch of the Ration Challenge, a fundraising initiative which will see thousands of Kiwis eat a refugee’s rations for one week to raise money and awareness for Syrian refugees living in Jordan.
Blog written by AJM Zobaidur Rahman, Campaigns and Communications Officer, Oxfam in Bangladesh.
Photo: Maruf Hasan/Oxfam
Rajiah, 46, fled violence near her home in Myanmar six months ago with her 15-year-old daughter. She is now living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.
Two months into the crisis, more than 603,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed over into southern Bangladesh, while thousands are still trapped in the border. According to the UN, the pace of new arrivals made this crisis the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, and the concentration of refugees in Cox’s Bazar is now amongst the densest in the world.
More than 300,000 Rohingya women and girls who have fled rape and violence are not getting the protection and help they need because of lack of funds, Oxfam said ahead of a donor conference in Geneva today.
There are now more than 120,000 pregnant women and mothers with new babies who are among those struggling to survive in cramped camps and settlements in Bangladesh that are ill-equipped to deal with their needs.
A young woman receives food aid at the Bulakhali camp in Bangladesh, where 13,500 people are seeking humanitarian assistance. Oxfam plans to assist more than 200,000 people with emergency support. Photo: AJM Zobaidur Rahman/Oxfam
Oxfam is responding with water, sanitation, and other essentials
“As long as the senseless, costly and brutal war in South Sudan continues, its people will continue to flee to find protection, food, water and shelter. More than anything they need peace at home. South Sudan’s neighbouring countries and the international community must honour their commitments to get South Sudan’s warring parties back to the negotiating table. Until then, it will not be safe for South Sudanese refugees to return home, forcing them to depend on aid across the border.
“The sheer scale of the global refugee crisis is shocking. These new figures prove that more people need support than ever before. While the pace of displacement has slowed in the last year, suggesting that countries are tightening the screws which may be making it more difficult for people to flee across borders and seek refuge, there certainly hasn’t been notable improvement in those countries that are suffering from conflict and deprivation."