Thousands in need of medical care and clean water
Salim, 10 years old, sits beside his mother under a black tarp on a bumpy dirt slope. His face lights up with a smile as he talks about how he and his friends used to go to the hills and feed the cows back in Myanmar and how they used to sing. But then his eyes turn sad. Salim’s oldest brother was killed by a mob in Myanmar, and his mother was beaten and abused. The family fled to Bangladesh.
Muslims flee persecution from the Myanmar government
Salim is part of the Rohingya, a large Muslim minority group that has been persecuted in Myanmar for years. Last August, the Myanmar government and a Buddhist mob swept into Rohingya villages and massacred dozens of men, raped women, and burned down houses with families still inside.
800,000 refugees are taking shelter in Bangladesh
Fearing the violence would reach their villages, 800,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh. But Bangladesh, the poorest country in the region, is unable to provide them with adequate housing or aid. As a result, a huge slum camp has grown near the border with thousands in need of help.
“Pretty much everyone, all 800,000, are living in shelters made of tarps with flimsy wooden frames and dirt floors,” said a CAM team member who visited Bangladesh to see how we can help. More than half of the refugees are children.
Many experience terrible conditions inside the camp
Deep in the camp our staff found great needs. “Several people had severe wounds left untreated because they would have to be carried a long way through difficult terrain to a clinic,” the team reported. “We saw a boy with a partial foot amputation that looked like it needed a good cleaning. We saw children with rashes and swollen bellies, and babies who looked in need of better nutrition.”
An estimated 25,000 babies are expected to be born in the camp this year. Yet there appeared to be no midwifery. A nurse practitioner from the CAM team reported, “Most women smiled back when I smiled at them . . . But there were those women who didn’t smile back, whose eyes remained dull, their faces expressionless. I wondered what their stories were.”
CAM is gathering a team of medical personnel and opening a clinic in a remote part of the camp. We will also supply women’s health kits.
Immediate needs are medical care and clean water systems
Besides the need for medical care, there is a huge need for clean water and good latrines. Many are drinking stagnant water from ditches, making them sick. Already the camp has experienced cholera, measles, and diphtheria. CAM plans to drill several tube wells and build quality latrines in the area surrounding our clinic. We will also teach proper hygiene to prevent disease and sickness in the crowded camp.
Our budget goal for this project is $250,000. If you feel led to help, your support will be a blessing.
Includes information from various news sources.