COX’S BAZAR (22 SEPTEMBER 2017) - In a response to a government call for assistance, World Vision will begin food distributions on 24 September to some 15,200 refugees (3,050 households) who fled fighting in Myanmar. Relief will be distributed at Ukhia “upazilla” (sub-division) in Cox’s Bazar District. The food package contains rice, lentils, salt, cooking oil, and sugar for the next two months to meet critical needs. First priority goes to persons most vulnerable to malnutrition and medical complications: children, female-headed families, pregnant and lactating mothers, people with disabilities and the elderly.
Fred Witteveen, World Vision’s National Director in Bangladesh recently led an assessment that interviewed dozens of refugees in three refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. “Hundreds of thousands of refugees have crossed into Bangladesh, and still they are coming. The suffering they have endured, especially children and women, is unimaginable. Our sole aim is to, along with partners, reduce their suffering as best we can.”
World Vision is coordinating with government authorities and non-profit relief groups on the ground to reach those most in need as efficiently as possible. “It’s a massive operation to meet not only existing needs, but also prepare for ones around the corner that may soon surface,” said Witteveen. World Vision is finalizing plans to expand its work, based on government approval.
Since the early hours of 25 August, violence that broke out in Rakhine State, Myanmar has pushed at least 400,000 people over the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. There has been a continued influx since then, as well as high levels of mobility within Cox’s Bazar. New arrivals join existing refugees who fled from Myanmar in previous months and years. Formal refugee camps and makeshift settlements have expanded with the newest arrivals, while new spontaneous settlements have formed and are quickly growing. Relief workers have noted how this latest wave of refugees suffers most acutely from food scarcity and lack of clean drinking water, safe sanitation, shelter, health care, nutrition, clothing and personal safety in the increasingly crowded camp sites.
Humanitarian Emergency Affairs Communications Manager, World Vision South Asia & Pacific Office
Communications Director, World Vision Bangladesh
Phone: +88 02 982 1004-11
World Vision Background
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation conducting relief, development and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
World Vision has been working in Bangladesh since 1972 when it started with emergency relief operations. For 20 years, World Vision has had a regular field presence 67km from the affected area in Cox’s Bazar where it runs a community development program.