Veronique De Viguerie

Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh

Vero visited the refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, meeting vulnerable families who have experienced severe trauma. 

Many left their homes with nothing and desperately need shelter, lighting and other essential items. Vero said:

“The camp in Cox’s Bazar is really colourful. In such awful circumstances, there is a lot of life. We saw a couple who had just married, a man having dental work in a crowd, children playing. I also saw the solar lights that ShelterBox provided. They are very useful, especially for families to share a dinner with at night. These are family moments you have to cherish, especially when you have lost everything. I think hope and strength is all over these camps.”

INterview with Veronique


ALI HUSSEIN AND HIS WIFE SHOMI NARA


Deep inside Balukhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, live newlyweds Ali Hussein, 26, and his 17-year-old wife Shomi Nara. They had been there for four months after fleeing horrific violence in Myanmar.

Even though they were from the same village, they had never met before entering the camp. Ali said his initial thought when he first laid eyes on Shomi was, ‘I’m feeling good.’

Ali didn’t want to marry in the camp because they could not celebrate in the way he would have liked, but they had no choice, ‘I wanted to arrange a big party for the wedding. In the camp my conditions are not so good, so I could not do this.’

On her wedding day, Shomi wore a traditional yellow Rohingya wedding dress. When asked if she was happy to be married, Shomi giggled shyly and nodded her head. It was clear from her smiles she was happy.

A wedding

HOSNA ARA, HER MOTHER AND THREE-HOUR-OLD BABY


A sleeping mother and her new born child with a lady beside her

20-year-old Hosna Ara gave birth to her third baby in an IOM (International Organization for Migration) medical centre in Kutupalong Refugee Camp just three hours before this photo was taken.

The baby weighed only 2.6 kg, but both mother and daughter were healthy.

The staff from a different medical centre – this time the International Federation of Red Cross – said only four out of ten Rohingya babies born in their field hospital survive.

The majority of the babies are stillborn. The tough journey to the camp causes complications that go untreated and many babies die in the womb.

Some women have been in labour for days before they reach anyone who can help. For many, the hospital is their last stop.

ARAFA AND HER YOUNGEST CHILD


Arafa lives with her husband and five children. The family had been in the camp for three months when we met them.

She told us her village in Myanmar was set on fire as the family fled: ‘We were fired at, they had big guns with rockets that set everything on fire. They tortured us and threw our children on the fire, they raped the women, we had to run away.’

It took them 15 days to get to the border. Arafa and her husband took it in turns to carry their children. ‘We started our journey on a boat, then we reached a forest where we took rest. We stayed there hiding for a while then continued our journey.’

We asked Arafa and her family if they wanted to go back and everyone shook their head, even the younger children. ‘The situation is not good, we do not get proper treatment there. We want to remain Rohingya and have our own country.’

A lady and child with a solar light

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