The Rohingya Crisis is at its peak, as thousands of refugees struggle for a place to lay their head and a meal a day to feed their kids. Deemed the “most persecuted minority group in the world”, by the United Nations, the Rohingyas are a stateless group of people in western Myanmar, who have faced brutal assaults from the Burmese state and military.
After the crackdown, lakhs of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar have rushed into Bangladesh and neighbouring countries for refuge.
Even as all hope seems to have spiralled away for these Rohingya Muslim families, volunteers from the UK-based International humanitarian relief Sikh organisation, Khalsa Aid, made it to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border to provide relief to lakhs of them.
Khalsa Aid managing director, Amarpreet Singh, who is in the border town of Teknaf in Bangladesh, revealed to the Indian Express that the condition at the refugee camps is “miserable to say the least”.
On the first day itself, the team came prepared with enough resources to provide relief to over 50,000 people. But they were in for a shock when they realised the number is over three lakh refugees in the town.
Most of the families are living without basic amenities like water, food or shelter.
“They are sitting wherever they can find a corner. It is raining, but people do not have anywhere to go. It is miserable. We will be providing them langar food (community kitchen) and shelter. We are arranging tarpaulins but since the number of refugees has overwhelmingly exceeded our preparations, it can some time to make arrangements,” he told the Indian Express.
He also mentioned the each of the massive camps at Teknaf is crowded beyond capacity. A camp that can accommodate 50,000 people has over one lakh refugees in it. But these number will not deter the volunteers from the task at hand, he believes.
A Khalsa Aid volunteer from Jammu & Kashmir, Jeevanjyot Singh, narrates how refugees fleeing Myanmar reached Teknaf. Some families walked through thick jungles in Myanmar, crossed the border using boats and resumed the journey for shelter on foot yet again, taking over ten days with no proper food or water.
“They are in dire need of food and water,” he said.
The border town of Teknaf is almost 10 hours away from Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, where the volunteers are travelling to get ingredients to prepare langar. Despite low connectivity issues and rains threatening to disrupt work, the volunteers are going the extra mile to provide food to the maximum people at the earliest.
“We are committed to run langar here till the crisis is not over. The priority is not to let anyone sleep without food,” said Amarpreet.
He also shared that another team of Khalsa Aid volunteers is set to reach Teknaf in coming days to further the relief operations.
We salute the spirit of these volunteers for their efforts who are working day & night for the Rohingyas selflessly. One can only hope this grave humanitarian crisis comes to an end.
You can help raise funds for the relief operations here.