Rohingya Refugee Emergency
The current emergency: On Monday, March 22, 2021, a fire ripped through a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. According to the most recent news reports (e.g. New York Times, 03/24/21), the fire left 15 dead, as many as 400 people missing, hundreds injured, and over 50,000 people without homes.
Recent history: For decades, the Rohingyas have fled their homes and taken refuge mostly in Bangladesh as they face intense religious and ethnic persecution in Myanmar. As of August 25, 2017, roughly 723,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh as the Myanmar military and the local Buddhist militia killed some estimated 24,000 Rohingyas and committed heinous atrocities, making it widely known as the worst case of ethnic cleansing today. To add to that, the military coup and subsequent government takeover in Myanmar in early February 2021 indicates that the already slim chances of the Rohingya refugees returning to their home country are now essentially zero. This fire in one of the largest Rohingya refugee camps has made the humanitarian crisis significantly worse.
What is being done currently? The Bangladeshi government, international community (e.g. UNHCR, USAID, DFID, foreign donors & NGOs), and domestic NGOs are largely responsible for taking care of the Rohingya refugees, working tirelessly to ease their suffering. Despite significant mobilization of resources & expertise, and the good faith efforts of policymakers, volunteers, and donors the situation in these refugee camps remain dire and the needs remain incredible.
What can you do? Usually when an emergency of this proportion occurs, one can volunteer in the field or make monetary or in-kind donations to grassroots volunteers or NGOs that are helping the victims. However, due to local government and international agencies’ security protocols, grass-roots volunteers and many NGOs are not allowed to work in these refugee camps and it is not possible for an individual to walk in and volunteer in-person. The best way to help is to spread awareness and to make monetary donations to NGOs that have been granted permission to work in these refugee camps. To this end, Nourish Bangladesh is fundraising for multiple of our already vetted NGOs to provide the much-needed financial support and generate awareness among our supporters and their networks.
Which NGOs will receive our funding? Nourish Bangladesh has been in close contact with our vetted NGOs who are able to work in the Rohingya refugee camps. The situation on the ground remains fluid and information on the most urgent needs is still being gathered. As of now, we will be funding the work of BDesh Foundation. BDesh is currently active in the Rohingya refugee camps that was affected by fire and are helping with food, education, shelter, health services, Covid19, and more. We will direct BDesh Foundation to use our funds in providing dry food and other uses as it is deemed necessary.
How can I make a donation that is tax deductible (in the US) or gift aid eligible (in the UK)? It depends on where you are donating from and which country you are currently a resident of.
For Australian, Canadian, and UK donors: None of our current vetted NGOs working with the Rohingya refugees offer tax deductions or are gift aid eligible.
For US donors: All your donations to Nourish Bangladesh are tax deductible.
What is the timeline for vetting and disbursing funds? Our plan is to make disbursements from the portfolio every 2 weeks based on funds raised and the logistics on the ground.
How will the funds be spent? The funds will be used to help the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh as they deal with the aftermath of the fire. In particular, the funds will be used to provide shelter, food, education support, or healthcare services to the Rohingya refugees. We send the money to the mentioned NGOs.