The Rohingya people – sometimes referred to as Arakanese Indians – originate from what is now western Myanmar. The majority are Muslim but there are some Hindu Rohingya.
Since 25 August 2017, an estimated 720,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh, fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Most are now based in the crowded camps near an area known as Cox’s Bazar. The total Rohingya population in these camps is now more than 919,000 people. Around 55 per cent of the refugee population is under 18 years old, three per cent are elderly and 16 per cent are single mothers.
The influx of refugees has caused a humanitarian crisis that affects around 1.3 million people in Cox’s Bazar, with assistance needed by both refugees and host communities. The Salvation Army's International Emergency Services visited Bangladesh in February 2018 to assess the situation with local Salvation Army leadership and staff.
The Salvation Army in Bangladesh is working with the local government as well as international and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to provide a co-ordinated and shared response to this humanitarian crisis and avoid duplication of efforts.
As part of a wider response, The Salvation Army will be providing much-needed power and light to residents of the camps.
Solar panels with LED lights and accessories will be provided to 2,800 families in camps, with a focus on the most vulnerable people (such as the elderly, people with disabilities, female-headed households).
The lamps will enable people to perform tasks at night without the need for batteries or dangerous open fires. It is also hoped that this new source of light will reduce crime and increase safety as people use them to navigate treacherous pathways through the camp.
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