Rohingya crisis: ‘The babies might not survive,’ says Sikh volunteer

NEW DELHI: Amarpreet Singh, Managing Director of Khalsa Aid India, a Sikh organisation providing relief to lakhs of Rohingya Muslims said ‘the babies might not survive’ because they are suffering an absence of food, shelters, medicines, sanitation facilities and clean water.

“I am not sure if the babies will be able to survive, considering their health condition. It’s heartbreaking to see them trying to get a morsel of food or water. All the shops are shut, the roads blocked, even the local authorities are trying their bit to help with their limited resources,” he said.

The Rohingya Muslims arriving are hungry, thirsty and exhausted beyond imagination. They are facing severe food shortage.

“They are living without water, food, clothes and shelter. They are sitting wherever they can find a corner,” Singh told Indian Express.

Sikh volunteers on the first day of the langar feeds around 35,000 Rohingyas Muslims refugees living in the camp.

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“We cooked and served the first langar meals here today. We had purchased raw materials like rice, vegetables and big utensils on Wednesday after getting required permissions from the government of Bangladesh. The initial target is at least 35,000 meals per day. However seeing the increasing number of refugees here, we know it won’t be enough to feed all but we had to start somewhere,”  Singh told The Indian Express.

Many of over 3,50,000 refugees, staying either under open sky or at the new refugee camps and shelters, are suffering from diarrhoeal and different diseases and don’t have an access to even clean drinking water and proper medicines.

Around one third of Myanmar’s Rohingya population have fled northern Rakhine state forBangladesh since August 25, when raids by Rohingya militants triggered the massive military campaign.

Myanmar faced renewed pressure Friday as fresh satellite images emerged of scorched villages across Rakhine state, fuelling accusations the military is systematically driving out Rohingya Muslims in what the UN says is an ethnic cleansing campaign.

Human Rights Watch said 62 villages in the Rohingya- majority area have been targeted by arson attacks, with more than half showing “extensive building destruction”.

Amnesty International also released images of dozens of razed communities, alleging Myanmar’s security forces have led “systematic” clearances of Rohingya Muslim settlements.

“Rakhine state is on fire,” said Olof Blomqvist, a researcher with Amnesty International, in a “clear campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar security forces”.

With agencies inputs