Three months since the latest wave of violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar, the number of people fleeing their homes and arriving in Cox Bazar of Bangladesh has reached 621,000 (note 1). Those who have sought safety in Bangladesh are living in extremely harsh condition: in sprawling camps with rudimentary shelter - often made only of plastic sheeting and bamboo, challenges such as lack of safe living shelter, safe water and food, basic living commodities, sanitation facilities as well as potential spread of diseases are still haunting the temporary camp areas. Local and International humanitarian agencies including the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has increased their efforts drastically, targeting to meet the escalated survival needs of the migrants.
In the northern part of Bangladesh, most of the flood waters has receded and early recovery has begun in many communities. However, there are still pockets of severely affected villages live under basic tarpaulin covers, at the same time facing the threats of monsoon.
(Note 1: The current wave of population movement was count from 25 August 2017. Taking into account the last wave of influx since December 2016, the total number of migrants taking refuge in Cox Bazar of Bangladesh from Myanmar had reached approximately 1 million.)
Hong Kong Red Cross Actions
The Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) has launched an emergency appeal on 22 September 2017 to support the relief operations in Bangladesh and Myanmar. As of today, approximately HK$619,000 has been received from the generosity of Hong Kong public.
So far, HKRC has mobilized assistance worth to HKD 5.6 million to support the emergency operations of the International Red Cross in Bangladesh and Myanmar, the amount includes a grant of $2.674 million from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Disaster Relief Fund that focus on the distribution of emergency shelter materials for 2,000 flood-affected families in northern part of Bangladesh. To improve the living condition of displaced families in Cox’s Bazar, HKRC has recently supported the provision of 60,000 pieces of sleeping mat for 30,000 displaced families from Myanmar in Bangladesh.
Since August, HKRC has deployed three staff members to Bangladesh to coordinate relief operations and psycho-social support services of the International Red Cross for the floods and population movement operations respectively. A total of four HKRC healthcare volunteers have been mobilized to join Red Cross and Red Crescent mobile medical team and emergency hospital in the Cox’s Bazar temporary camps.
HKRC continues to provide emergency tracing service for people in Hong Kong who are looking for missing family members in Bangladesh and Myanmar related to the current emergencies, details can be found on our “Emergency Tracing Service” webpage.
Red Cross and Red Crescent Actions
In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS), with the support of International Red Cross, continues to provide humanitarian services for people affected by cyclones, floods and violence. Over 1,500 volunteers and staff have been mobilized, activities included:
- Distribution of food, water and purification tables to over 872,000 person-times;
- Distribution of blankets, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, jerry cans and cooking utensils to 565,000 person-times;
- Distribution of tarpaulins, tool kits and ropes to 187,400 people for setting up temporary shelters;
- Provision of emergency cash grant to more than 11,000 families;
- Setting-up of 558 latrines and 300 water supply units to improve hygiene condition in the affected communities;
- Provision of medical services to over 39,400 people through field hospital, mobile medical teams and local healthcare centers;
- Over 4,400 children involved in child resilience activities and 11,000 people involved in psychosocial support activities;
- 7,865 people resumed contacts with their family members through “Restoring Family Links” services.
The International Red Cross has launched emergency appeals globally, seeking for HKD 400 million to support the emergency operations in Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are among the very few humanitarian organizations working on both Bangladesh and Myanmar and in response to multiple humanitarian needs currently. Apart from the emergency operations in Bangladesh, the Red Cross is growing its existing operation in Rakhine State of Myanmar to respond to the scale of the crisis to reach all communities affected by violence despite the very challenging operational environment. Over 181,000 person-times were supported with food, water, relief items, cash grants and sanitation facilities.
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