On 23 May, Swiss Solidarity and SRG SSR are organising a national fundraising day in aid of the Rohingya. Donation pledges will be taken from 6am to 11pm in the four fundraising centres in Zurich, Geneva, Chur and Lugano. Donations will go to eight of our partner relief organizations working in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Here the monsoon season is just beginning, meaning that aid will be desperately needed in the coming weeks and months.
The first rains have already reached Cox’s Bazar, where around 780,000 Rohingya refugees live in very crowded circumstances. The hilly terrain provides no protection from wind or rain. The trees have been felled, and their roots, which give stability to the soil, are being dug out and used as firewood. It has not yet rained much, but the ground has already turned to mud. More rain will bring the huts on higher ground sliding downhill. The latrines are overflowing so faeces might spread and cause outbreaks of disease in the camps.
According to a study at the University of Dhaka, when the monsoon arrives there will be serious difficulties in supplying around 220,000 people with water, food, medicine and shelter. 24,000 lives will be threatened, and these people should be moved to the mainland.
With numbers so high, it is important that Swiss Solidarity’s partner relief organizations carry out the necessary back-up measures, help to evacuate those most in danger and repair any damage as soon as possible. For them to do this, Swiss Solidarity requires more donations.
Last September we raised CHF 4,507,000, which has gone towards supporting 12 projects run by 8 of our partner relief organizations: Caritas Switzerland, HEKS, Helvetas, Medair, Fondation Hirondelle, Save the Children, the Swiss Red Cross and Terre des hommes – children’s relief.
These charities have distributed building materials, food, kitchen utensils, mosquito nets and lamps; cared for the undernourished; reinforced shelters; provided medical supplies and water; created safe places for children; built latrines and, because of the lack of firewood, used the biogas they generate to run kitchens. So far, 217,789 people have benefited from this aid.
You can also donate in aid of the Rohingya before the national fundraising day, either online at www.swiss-solidarity.org or to post office account 10-15000-6 (with the text “Rohingya”). Swiss Solidarity payment slips are available at all post offices.
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© Patrick Rohr