Your partner is shot right in front of your eyes…he falls down… cries for help. But you don’t stop.
You continue to run… run breathlessly… until you’re far, far away from your bleeding partner… and you still don’t know if they are dead or alive…
This is what happened to Ayesha (22) from Myanmar. She was sharing her tales of horror.
It was a regular everyday morning.
Ayesha 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.
No, their ordeal didn’t end there.
They were attacked again. This time by a group of people with guns. Again they started running.
Ayesha’s husband was shot. She saw that but couldn’t afford to stop. Ayesha had to save her kids. 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 a makeshift camp where a huge number of refugees from Myanmar are huddling together with not enough food, shelter or medical facilities.
In the past four weeks, more than 400,000 people from Myanmar have fled to Cox’s Bazar, southeastern 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.
When asked, she said, “We need food…water…latrine; need some clothes. We have no money to buy anything.”
“The situation of the refugees is worsening by the minute,” says Zia Choudhury, CARE Bangladesh Country Director. “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.”
In Cox’s Bazar, close to the Myanmar border, thousands of families are sleeping in makeshift camps, fields and on muddy paths. The campsites 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,” adds Choudhury.
CARE International has already allocated some initial funds to start its emergency response to the Myanmar Refugee Crisis. The CARE Bangladesh emergency team has already conducted a rapid needs assessment and started distributing cooked food to over 3,500 people, for an initial period of 15 days. CARE is also mobilizing health, nutrition and gender teams to provide rapid services for vulnerable women and children.
To respond to the most urgent needs over the months ahead, CARE is appealing for $12.4 Million AUD.
Written by Hillol Sobhan, Communications and PR Coordinator, CARE Bangladesh with information from Tahmina Haque, Reporting & Documentation Manager, SHOUHARDO III Program of CARE Bangladesh.