Support of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Direct help on site in refugee camps - well drilling, medicine, rice, saris

Tue, May 7, 2019 -7:59, written by Alexandra, published by Frank

Well drilling, direct medical aid, distribution of rice and saris

A team of FriendCircle WorldHelp is on the road in the crisis area of Bangladesh from April 16 to May 3rd.

The Rohingyas, an ethnic group who has been expelled from Myanmar, has been accommodated in the world's largest refugee camp in miserable living conditions for hundreds of thousands of people. As in previous years, FriendCircle WorldHelp concentrates on those people who do not benefit or only to a limited extent from international aid.

Unfortunately, as we had already experienced last year, some underground structures have formed in the huge camps, making it difficult to provide simple direct aid. Groups are forming gangs and exploit the helpless refugees. One of our employees was kidnapped at night and his small belongings were stolen. The task the team is facing is therefore far more complex than in other areas and requires careful and prudent work.

The medical supplies, which are urgently needed in the camp, are therefore purchased far away from the camp and brought to a neutral room on site. There, small rations are packed and distributed inconspicuously to the huts where the medicine is most needed.

Since there is no power supply in the camps, light sources are urgently needed. 500 solar lamps will therefore also be distributed. This represents a treasure in a hut, in which it becomes pitch-dark from 6 o'clock in the evening on.

At the same time, the drilling of wells is started at different places, because clean water is what is needed most urgently. Due to the remote location and the lack of electricity in the camps, the wells are drilled by teams by hand, a tedious and exhausting job in the prevailing heat...

In Cox Bazar, the team visits a slum-like settlement by the sea. Here every family is to get a sack of rice. First coupons are distributed and on the day after next the rice is finally to be distributed in the morning. Unfortunately, young aggressive men show up complaining that they didn't get a coupon but are just as needy. For safety reasons, the distribution must be interrupted and cancelled on this morning. During a second attempt to distribute the rice sacks to the population, we are offered "help" in a dubious manner by people who had heard of this action and are asking for a fee of 500-600 euros. The team of course already knows this kind of "camouflaged" corruption from other crisis areas; therefore, we decline with thanks! As the friends help friends team is thereupon threatened by these people, we have no choice but to move to a hotel with security guard to guarantee the safety of the team.

Although the situation is difficult, it is ultimately resolved due to extremely fortunate circumstances. The well drilling expert with whom the team has successfully drilled several wells in the Rohingya Camps has good connections to higher police and political levels. With his help, the urgently needed distribution to 270 of the poorest families can be carried out without corruption!

In addition, urgently needed clothing (typical Saris of the country) can be distributed to about 50 women. For patients needing urgent care, treatment and medication in the hospital are paid. Among them is a man who was hit by a truck the day before and a mother of five children who is threatening to go blind.

And there is very good news from the Rohingya Camps: five wells have been successfully drilled!

THANKS TO ALL friends at home for your generous donations, which make this work possible and for your loving thoughts and prayers, which always accompany us on our tours...


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Street scene in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh.
Drilling has to be done manually as there is no electricity in the camps.
Finally, five of six well drillings are successful!
Children in front of their village, a slum near Cox Bazar.
Purchasing solar lamps for 500 huts.
Alois and Michael distributing sweets to children in the slums.
Discussing of how and when to distribute the rice ...
In one of the camp huts. The mother shows one of the distributed solar lamps.


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