I really don’t know why the Rohingya situation weighs so heavily on my mind. Working for a relief and development organization, I hear about horrible things happening around the world all the time. And of course in the U.S., we have our own problems.
You might recall that I dedicated my first double marathon attempt to the relief efforts (although I made my original fundraising goal, you can still DONATE HERE through the end of June 2018).
For those of you interested, I thought I’d share an update from the field:
Rohingya and Host Community Relief (non-food item) distribution
10 – 12 June 2018
Written By: World Renew Staff: Shagota Chism and George Gomez, and Christian Commission for the Development of Bangladesh (CCDB) Colleagues.
Distribution among the host community: (Of Non-Food Items: We gave for a family – umbrellas, raincoats, rubber sandals to use in rainy season, (raincoats and sandals are adult size and children size) soap, solar light, detergent, large plastic container for these things and they can use for storage of things as everything is getting so wet.)
This distribution took place on 10th at Shefordkhali, Jaliapalong. This location was selected as per the advice of the Local government. This is for the first time the local community of this area received some kind of relief goods. The local Union Parishad members both male and female were present there at the site to manage the crowd. Without their presence it would not be possible to complete this task. They worked hard to have people queued up and maintain disciple. At times there were a bit of chaos but the team could manage things well and complete the task. Around 700 families received non-food items. The community was very happy to receive the relief.
As we talked with them we learned that they are being affected by Rohingya crisis in many different ways. The Rohingya camp is only 1 k.m. away from them. Prices of daily commodities are on rise and laborer works are being taken up by the Rohingya people. They also live in fear since they have now become the minority there. These are the people who helped Rohingya’s when they first arrived. But now there are growing concerns among them.
There were also some challenges that this distribution faced. The main challenge was to receive the permission from the DC (district Commissioner) office. The reason for this was there were too many applications waiting for the approval before Eid holiday. On the day of the distribution, we received the approval at 3.30 p.m. Right after receiving the approval we started to the site. People were already waiting there long ago. The distribution started as soon as the trucks arrived and it was done by 7.30 p.m. It was already dark and people had hard time to get back home. These people were all fasting and did not have time to break the fasting at the evening (It is Ramadan time).
Another challenge was bad weather. It was raining since morning. However, the team was determined to complete the task and people also came defying the rain. And, surprisingly, it was not raining during distribution.
Distribution among the Rohingya community: Permission from the DC office for this distribution was received on 11th night. Therefore, today (12th) the team could start early at 7.30 a.m. The weather wasn’t in favor again. It has been raining hard since morning. It took the team at bit time get the permission from the Army relief control centre.
Finally, Army assigned us for two locations: Balukhali – 1 and Kutupalong – 4. There were 2000 boxes for 2000 families which were divided into two: 1200 for the Balukhali-1 and 800 for the Kutupalong-4. Sadly, the distribution at Kutupalong-4 was postponed due to landsides that barred people to come to the location. It has been raining in this area for the past few days that caused this land slide. It is expected that the distribution at Kutupalong-4 will resume tomorrow. The team could distribute only 40 boxes there. At Balukhali-1, distribution went well. The Army took over the responsibility of managing the crowd. It helped the team to manage the distribution work well. Even if it rained there was not any damage since it was a non-food item. The items (sandal, umbrella, box etc.) were appropriate for the situation. CCDB (our partner, Christian Commission for Development of Bangladesh) team worked hard to ensure that the distribution works go well. They are a well managed and experienced team.
Listening to the stories: On 11th , the World Renew team took time to visit the camp and listen to the people. Their stories revealed their great pain and suffering. People are in trauma specially the women. Some have become numb and tells their horrific stories as if nothing serious. Some looked very sad. And some could cry. Men also cried as they told their stories. Each and every one of them has stories to tell and carrying a great wound in their hearts. Today (12th) also we could talk to some. It was kind of giving emotional support besides helping them with aid. They are in need of both these support.
TP Add: The Weather Channel reported that over 12 inches of rain fell on the Rohingya camps within 24 hours, starting on Saturday. And they say: “Up to 8 feet of rain can fall on the region during the monsoon each year“.