Hamilton mobilization for Rohingya refugees
Just back from Bangladesh, Noor Nizam described to Health Partners International of Canada the dire situation of the Rohingya refugees who live in camps in Cox’s Bazaar.
“These 900,000 people are living in totally unacceptable conditions,” he related to HPIC in a telephone interview. “It is monsoon season now and there is mud and water everywhere. They have no drinking water and no food and their shelters will not stand the wrath of the monsoon. The world has turned its back on them.”
Noor was moved to find out more about the Rohingya refugee crisis in the fall of 2017. It is the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.
“The more I dug into the story, the more I felt compelled to do something to help these people,” he said. “We wanted to be their voice in Canada.” The Hamilton mobilization includes 6 mosques, the United Church of Canada, the City of Hamilton, the local communities of Hamilton and Dundas, and the Bangladeshi community of Canada.
Through their efforts they have been able to raise public awareness in Ontario about the plight of the Rohingya and raise funds to get emergency medical relief to them.
In June, Noor brought eight Humanitarian Medical Kits comprising 16 boxes of medicines from HPIC with his friend Rahim Chowdhury to provide medical treatment for an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 children and adults.
“Malnutrition is rampant. The children are weak and vulnerable to sickness. They get diarrhea, stomach problems, malaria and more. Drinking water is very scarce. The health workers cannot do much without medicines,” Noor said.
The medicines they brought to their on-the-ground partner, the Red Crescent Society of Bangladesh, could fill the pharmacy at the camp. “The field staff at the camp hospital really appreciated the donated medicines from Canada and expressed a desire for more.”
Noor is continuing to mobilize support for the Rohingya refugees and is planning more medical relief in partnership with HPIC.