World Vision Ready to Respond to Refugee Crisis in Bangladesh

COX’S BAZAR, 17 SEPTEMBER 2017 - World Vision is conducting an urgent needs assessment among refugees on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, where almost 400,000 people have fled since fighting erupted in Myanmar in late August. The UN has estimated that half the refugees who have fled into Bangladesh are children.

A World Vision Bangladesh team is on the ground in the country’s most affected district, Cox’s Bazar, gathering information, while waiting for government approval to begin work.

Urgent needs, according to preliminary assessments by a UN-led consortium, include emergency shelter, health care to address acute injuries, food and nutrition, clean water, sanitation facilities, and child-friendly spaces for more than 52,000 children.

World Vision Australia chief executive Claire Rogers said reports out of Myanmar and Bangladesh were deeply disturbing and Australia had a role to play in ensuring humanitarian access was open for aid agencies.

“Agencies like World Vision can’t deliver life-saving assistance to vulnerable populations without humanitarian access,” she said. “Australia has a role to play, especially as it is aiming for a seat on the Human Rights Council, in negotiating humanitarian access, both in Northern Rakhine State and in Bangladesh.

“The situation in the camps in Bangladesh is desperate, with almost 20,000 people crossing the border every day. Comprehensive protection programming is essential to keep children and their families safe.”

World Vision Bangladesh national director Fred Witteveen said the agency was ready to move as soon as access was granted. “Children are the most vulnerable during displacements. If we can reach those in need as quickly as possible, then they can have a fighting chance at recovery,” Witteveen said.

World Vision has worked in Bangladesh since 1972 when it started with emergency relief operations. For the past 20 years, World Vision has had a regular field presence 67km from Cox’s Bazar where it runs a community development program.

Picture: Anwara and her family fled when violence erupted in the Rakhine State, Myanmar. "When we were coming my elderly father passed away," she tells World Vision staff. "We have nothing now. We sleep in a very small tent with no mat. When it rains we have to sleep on the wet ground. We had to leave immediately and so left everything behind. We could not even bring our clothes. Now we eat only when someone hands us food. Each day is becoming very difficult to provide for my children."

For more information, spokespeople, and interviews, please contact:

Stuart Rintoul: World Vision Australia +61 (0) 407 241 492


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