The relief operation in Cox’s Bazar has begun. We are delivering packages with food and basic necessities to those most in need. Search efforts are also underway as the staff of the Good Factory daycare, which was consumed by the flames, try to locate the families of some of our residents.
Victims of the devastating fire include Nur Bano and her children. She has already had to flee the flames once. Burmese authorities persecuted the Rohingya – a Muslim minority who had been denied citizenship rights – for years. The situation escalated when they burned down three fourths of Rohingya villages and murdered countless innocent people in a vicious ethnic cleansing attack.
That day Nur Bano made her daily trip to the well for water, leaving her six sleeping children at home. Her husband had already been gone from home for two years. He was arrested by the Burmese army and sentenced to life in prison for an act he did not commit. At the well, Nur Bano saw a cloud of black smoke rising above the village. She dropped everything and with tears in her eyes, ran as fast as she could back to her children. By the time she returned to the village, her hut had already gone up in flames. Her brother-in-law managed to save four children but the two youngest burned alive.
Last week, the traumatic memories of her past returned. What’s even worse, her youngest son is still missing since the fire at the camp. He wasn’t with this family when it broke out and likely tried to find his way back to his mother but was cut off by the flames. We hope that someone is looking after him and that he is safe.
The fire that broke out last Monday at the world’s largest refugee camp destroyed more than 9,000 homes, depriving 45,000 people of their shelter as well as the few personal belongings they had. We are distributing packages with food and basic necessities on the ground. We have also launched a fundraiser for rebuilding homes and the daycare center we built two years ago.
It is remarkable how quickly we were able to reach most of our fundraising goal. Thank you very much for your solidarity and opening your hearts to us! We’re still missing a little over 30,000 PLN to fully reach our goal. It’s time for us to mobilize! Encourage your friends to support us, share and talk about our work. We are running out of time. In just a few weeks, camp residents will face another set of challenges as monsoon season begins. By late May or early June, heavy rainfall will flood the camp grounds. We need to move the residents into safe shelter before then.
We can do this together!