Six Minus One

Six Minus One

11/20/17

Ayesha, 22, was doing household chores and her husband Abdur was getting ready to open his small grocery shop.

All of a sudden, some people came and torched the entire village. Ayesha and everyone else ran for their lives. The next few days, they lived under the open sky in another village.

But their ordeal didn’t end there. They were again attacked. This time by a group of people with guns in their hands. Again they started running. Ayesha’s husband got shot. She saw it but couldn’t afford to stop. Ayesha had to save her kids (pictured). She had no time to think about her husband.

Over the next couple of days, she ran from place to place and finally saw a long trail of people — all shocked and terrified — at the Bangladesh border. With thousands of others, she was allowed to enter Bangladesh. Ayesha is now staying at Balukhali makeshift camp where a huge number of refugees are huddling together with not enough food, shelter or medical facilities. More than 900,000 people from Myanmar have now fled to Bangladesh, following an escalation of violence in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State. Most of the refugees here are women like Ayesha with small children and babies.

Ayesha needs to breastfeed one and take care of the other three; all very young. After managing the kids, she hardly gets time to go out and fight for relief materials. Thankfully Ayesha’s parents are also with her who share whatever relief materials they can manage.

“We need food…water…latrine; need some clothes. We have no money to buy anything,” she says.

“The situation of the refugees is worsening by the minute. They came to Bangladesh with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. They walked for long distances for days to reach safety. They have nowhere else to go," says Zia Choudhury, CARE Bangladesh Country Director.

In Cox’s Bazar, close to the Myanmar border, thousands of families are sleeping in makeshift camps, fields and on muddy paths. The camp sites are muddy, hilly, and slippery; at times, treacherous.

“The conditions of refugees from Myanmar are among the most miserable that I have ever seen. The people who have fled Rakhine State are in desperate need of safe shelter, food and medical assistance," Choudhury says.

CARE International has already allocated some initial funds to start its emergency response to the Myanmar Refugee Crisis. CARE Bangladesh emergency team has already conducted a rapid needs assessment and started distributing cooked food. CARE is also mobilizing health, nutrition and gender teams to provide rapid services for vulnerable women and children.

Photo credit: Tahmina Haque/CARE Bangladesh

 

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