United Hands Relief in Myanmar
Myanmar, also known as Burma, though rich in natural resources is considered one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia.
Decades of rule by military junta and widespread political corruption prevented sustained economic development until fairly recently. The gradual restoration of civilian government since 2011 has slowly opened the formerly closed country to global markets and the international community, which has led to increased investment and improved rates of growth, but economic liberalization has not been accompanied by civic inclusiveness. Myanmar remains torn by chronic ethnic-religious conflict with around two million internally displaced and stateless persons.
The Rohingya Muslims of Rakhine State in the western area of the country are particularly vulnerable, having been stripped of citizenship in the early 1980s and subject to deportation by state authorities. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have been forced to seek refuge in neighboring countries putting huge pressure on especially Bangladesh.
Close to a million Rohingya people have fled unimaginable atrocities in Myanmar to seek refuge in Bangladesh. More than 700,000 have arrived since August 2017, and people are still arriving.
Cox’z Bazar – the main camp is now the largest refugee camp in the world with over 600,000 refugees. The conditions in the camps remain poor. Due to inadequate sanitation facilities, there’s a high probability for the spread of waterborne diseases.
The Situation of the People of Rohingya:
- People are living in flimsy shelters made of tarpaulin and bamboo on bare soil – these will not be able to withstand major storms.
- Close to 700,000 people are squashed into an area far too small to safely accommodate them – the number of people per square km is more than 1000 times what is recommended for refugee camps.
- Heavy rains could make footpaths that refugees rely on to collect water and food, and go to the toilet, totally unusable. It’s estimated that half a million people struggle to get vital aid and services during the monsoon season.
- According to the UNHCR, more than half of the refugees are women and girls. Over half – 60 percent are children under 18 and around 3% are aged over 60. There are 120,000 pregnant women and new mothers. Around 36,000 are unaccompanied children.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people have crossed over to Bangladesh, fleeing the violence. They are living in terrible conditions and continue to need life-saving assistance. In Myanmar and Bangladesh, United Hands Relief is responding by providing life-saving emergency relief supplies, clean water, and sanitation for vulnerable Rohingya families affected by the conflict and natural disasters like monsoons and floods. UHR also distributes fresh food and meat during Ramadan, Udhiyah and Eid.