600,000 Refugees Desperate for Help
I would like to share with you my recent heart-breaking visit to the eastern border of Bangladesh, in the countryside of Cox's Bazar.
by Kevin Chiu, Chief Executive Officer of World Vision Hong Kong
600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled there since end August and the area became an instant city. Yes, an instant city - but without electricity, water supply, shelter, school, or hospital. The refugees told us: "We left in a hurry", "We left everything behind as we had five children to look after", "Our houses were burning", "We have nothing here but we have peace", "I could at least sleep at night"...
In the past two months, every day, on average, 10,000 refugees crossed the river to arrive in the camp. The Bangladesh Government and many iNGOs such as World Vision are scrambling to get organised and help. Tents have been distributed, water points set up, makeshift medical points started, rice and mats and clothes and personal hygiene items etc. distributed... Army and police are there to give security and avoid further chaos. Local host communities are generous and patient. Yet, needs are simply overwhelming: children and babies are dying, malnourishment among children is increasing, many are suffering from diarrhoea and fever without proper medicine or attention...
In one of the Child Friendly Spaces World Vision set up for young children, my colleague passed me a baby boy. Severely sick and malnourished, he is eight months old but has only a newborn's weight, about 11 or 12 pounds, with a big head and very skinny skeleton. I could not believe he is eight months old. He is sucking his finger and making hungry sobs. "His mother has been sick and she does not have milk for him, and he is sick too." I felt deep pain inside as I knew the boy would most probably not survive.
World Vision is there to help as many and as much as we could. The refugees are helpless and nearly hopeless. We have to do it fast. We need your support to give them help and hope.
Thank you for your partnership.