BALTIMORE, MD – The crisis unfolding in Western Myanmar is not new but is certainly growing progressively worse. The Rohingya are a stateless minority Muslim group, largely from Rakhine State in Myanmar, and because of their status in Myanmar, they have been denied access to citizenship, education, medical assistance, employment and other basic rights. A resurgence of violence in August of this year has now forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people to flee their homes in search of safety. Villages have been burned down leaving many individuals injured, tortured, or killed.
In response to the escalation of violence, World Relief issues the following statement:
“Simply put, the situation in Myanmar is extremely dire. Hundreds of thousands of people continue to face daily challenges to survive the fighting, while struggling to access food, safe drinking water, basic healthcare, and safe shelter. They are homeless orphans in desperate search of refuge while attempting to survive unthinkable violence. Those that have fled have already endured so much pain and violence. We are grateful for and inspired by the response of Christians in both Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as the wider community, who have acted with incredible generosity and compassion toward these refugees. The Church throughout the West must now follow their lead. Our Christian faith compels us to care for the orphan and the widow, which is sadly now the condition of many Rohingya. This is an opportunity for the Church to shine by coming alongside some of the world’s most vulnerable people. World Relief is committed to helping as many Rohingya refugees as the size and scope of our resources allow. We ask Christians to pray, and we encourage concerned peoples everywhere to join us in standing with the Rohingya people.”
Rohingya men make up the majority of those killed from the ongoing violence, leaving countless widows and fatherless children behind. As a result, over half a million Rohingya – comprised mostly of women and children – have fled Myanmar in just the past two months. These refugee families are without access to basic necessities, and the lack of shelter and clean water has left them susceptible to outbreaks of disease.
The majority of Rohingya have fled across the border to Bangladesh, but the rapid influx of refugees has severely taxed the country’s very limited resources. Temporary shelters are overwhelmed, under-resourced and in many cases unsafe. A single heavy rainfall could destroy the majority of refugee shelters.
The magnitude of the crisis requires a direct humanitarian response of urgent care in affected communities, while the underlying social and political causes require peacebuilding, greater societal awareness and political advocacy as well. World Relief has now taken on an active role in the region, helping Rohingya refugees as they make their way to Bangladesh.
World Relief is responding to the crisis through partners by working to meet the immediate needs of displaced families, which includes:
- Provision of food and clean water
- Safe, reliable shelter
- Sanitation and hygiene
- Emergency nutrition assistance
To contribute to World Relief’s efforts, visit the emergency relief fund here.
World Relief is a global humanitarian relief and development organization that stands with the vulnerable and partners with local churches to end the cycle of suffering, transform lives and build sustainable communities. With over 70 years of experience, World Relief works in 20 countries worldwide through disaster response, health and child development, economic development and peacebuilding and has offices in the United States that specialize in refugee and immigration services.