The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) distributed food items to 1,012 Rohingya refugee families living in makeshift camps in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district.
"We are giving each Rohingya family 25 kilograms of rice, six kilograms of dal [lentils] and three liters of [cooking] oil," TİKA deputy coordinator Emrah Ekinci told Anadolu Agency (AA). A total of 5,000 Rohingya families will be given the same food items in five phases this month, which will continue as a regular monthly package, he added. "Thus, we are able to distribute food items to more than 20,000 Rohingya people per month," Ekinci said, adding the food aid is also being distributed to several hundred needy locals.
TİKA has been distributing cooked food daily to Rohingya since the beginning of the Rohingya influx into Bangladesh following the Aug. 25, 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine State. "Now we are distributing food items as per their needs. Prior to this, we also distributed [cooking] spices according to their requirements," Ekinci said. During a field visit, hundreds of Rohingya were seen waiting in a queue at TİKA's distribution area at the Shafiullah Kata camp in the Ukhia administrative region of Cox's Bazar. TİKA earlier visited Rohingya refugee camps and made a list of 5,000 families. It distributed one card to each family. Based on that card, they distribute food items so that all 5,000 families receive relief.
"We are grateful to TİKA and Bangladesh for helping us," said Rahima Khatun, 70, who fled Myanmar to Bangladesh with her four children after her husband went missing during a military crackdown. Anwara Begum, 60, who fled to Bangladesh with her critically injured husband who died after four months, said that after losing everything, they are now living at the mercy of others' help. "We want to go back to our country with safety and rights," she said.
The Rohingya, described by the U.N. as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012. According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017. Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar's state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA). More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, according to the report entitled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience." Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar's army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added. The U.N. has also documented mass gang rapes, killings - including of infants and young children - and brutal beatings and disappearances committed by the Myanmar state forces. In a report, U.N. investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.