It is one thing to say “love thy neighbour” and philosophise over the definition of neighbour; and it is quite another to have hundreds of thousands of desperate people make camp right on the doorstep of your own coastal fishing town.
Many of the community members around Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh, which now hosts one of the world’s largest refugee camps, have offered what help they could – even taking families into their own homes. The influx of people has disrupted their land and crops, the local economy and workforce, and stretched families as they provide what hospitality they can manage. Tearfund’s partner World Renew, together with local partner the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh, has recognised their need and responded with support from our emergency appeal. In June this year they provided 700 local families with a support kit including hygiene items, umbrellas, solar lighting, and a waterproof container.
In the refugee camps themselves, life is desperate. Many families have become fragmented, reeling from the loss of loved ones in the violence and the arduous journey to the relative safety of the camps. They now live with next to nothing. World Renew have brought some relief to families in Kutupulong and Balukhali camps, to help them weather the bucketing monsoon rains. In June, they distributed relief kits, including soap, raincoats, umbrellas, plastic sandals and solar lighting, all in a handy re-useable plastic tub. As the rain poured down, supplies have now reached 2000 households (18,000 people), helping them adjust to the wet conditions, improving safety and reducing the spread of disease.
Kelly Rae, Tearfund’s South Asia Team Leader, visited Kutupulong camp in 2017 and has closely monitored the situation since.
“Over 690,000 people have now arrived in Bangladesh seeking refuge, most settling in Kutupulong, which is now the world’s largest refugee camp. It is hard to find words to describe the level of hardship being faced within these camps. We continue to be grateful for the work of our partners who are able to be present with the Rohingya people in their pain and suffering and extend practical support as an expression of Christ’s love in a difficult context.”
When disaster strikes, Tearfund's partners are ready to respond swiftly to those in need.
Help enable our partners to respond in the immediate aftermath of emergencies and to help with long-term restoration.
World Renew send their deep thanks and ask for prayers for their staff working under gruelling conditions, and for the Rohingya people as they face the hardship of displacement and trauma. Please remember those in the camps, their neighbours in nearby villages and those extending God’s mercy to those in need.