Myanmar/Bangladesh Crisis: Fleeing conflict, facing starvation

By CARE Australia October 19, 2017 0 comments

On 9 September, Hamida’s mother was killed during violence in Myanmar.

“My mother was disabled, so she could not leave the house when it was set on fire.

I tried to grab her and carry her, but she was too heavy. And then a burning beam started to fall, and the flames fell onto my mother and she was on fire.”

Hamida and her siblings fled with their father to Bangladesh. It’s a desperate journey that more than half a million people have made in the past six weeks.

“It took us a week, walking through mud and up hills and in the torrential rain. It was very difficult,” Hamida says.

Now, the family are living in a refugee settlement in Bangladesh, where CARE is providing lifesaving food and healthcare.

But their trauma is not over.

Hamida with her baby sister, Bushra. Image: Kathleen Prior/CARE.

Hamida brought her youngest sibling, one-year-old Bushra, to a health clinic because she is terrifyingly thin.

Image: Kathleen Prior/CARE.

“The baby has very bad diarrhoea, seven times already this morning. She is so thin, she needs nourishment or I am scared she will die,” Hamida said.

Image: Kathleen Prior/CARE.

The CARE team found that Bushra was severely acutely malnourished. She was placed on a feeding program and given highly nutritious food.

Image: Kathleen Prior/CARE.

So far, more than 13,000 children like Bushra have been screened for malnutrition, with more than 11,000 to be treated with specialised therapeutic food in the next six months.

CARE fears up to 150,000 children are facing severe malnutrition. Many of them have lost their parents, and are being cared for by siblings, like Hamida.

“I am the eldest, and now my mother is gone I am taking on many responsibilities. I am cooking food for us all, and washing the babies,” Hamida said.

Image: Kathleen Prior/CARE.

Please support children like Hamida and Bushra by donating to CARE Australia’s Myanmar Bangladesh Crisis Appeal.

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