SEATTLE — Myanmar Muslims who have fled to southeastern Bangladesh face yet another struggle in the upcoming weeks as they brace for monsoon season in the refugee camps. These cyclical storms are some of the strongest in the world and are projected to destroy thousands of makeshift homes across Bangladesh’s eastern border. At their heaviest, the storms bring 20 to 30 inches of rain per month, amplifying worrisome concerns surrounding the locations of the Kutupalong and Balukhali refugee camps.
Humans of New York and Love Army Collaborate to Fund and Build Homes
There is, however, hope for the refugees, as the photo blog Humans of New York recently featured the stories of Rohingya Muslins in Bangladesh in order to promote its online fundraiser to collect money for the upcoming monsoon season. The fundraiser set a goal of $1.8 million but has since surpassed that number by roughly 16.5 percent to reach a donation total of nearly $2.1 million.
The homes for the Rohingya are being built by Love Army, an organization created by YouTube personality Jerome Jarre. All of the money donated to the Humans of New York fundraiser goes directly towards the cost of the houses, and Love Army also employs Rohingya refugees to build the houses so that they can further benefit from their construction.
Love Army operates under the idea that love can be an act of resistance regarding the world’s less fortunate. The organization also supports change in respect to unity among the world’s poor, building sanctuaries and promoting climate justice. The building of homes for the Rohingya has proved effective in advertising for its cause. The organization is growing and at present has more than 100,000 members across the United States.
Positive Effects of New Homes for the Rohingya
Love Army’s homes for the Rohingya crisis can hold six to eight people. The houses are made of bamboo and cost around $630 each. Two small rooms and a kitchen are included in the housing structures. These are incremental but much-needed improvements in comfort for the refugees.
Adequate housing is also likely to improve infections and diseases from insects. Humid and moist regions, like those of the Rohingya refugee camps, often see high rates of dengue fever and hepatitis E. Tightly constructed housing with solid walls and doors creates needed barriers to avoid such diseases.
Other concerns in the refugee camps include sewage draining into the drinking water. This is likely to spread cholera and other waterborne diseases. UNHCR will soon be building additional latrines with cement walls to stop any drainage that may occur from storm flooding. Many consequential benefits will arise from the implementation of new sanitary systems.
Although the new homes for the Rohingya will not eradicate these diseases on their own, it is likely that new sanitation structures and preventive measures will enhance the living conditions in the refugee camps. Doctors Without Borders has been working in the camps and will continue to establish new ways to eliminate water- and insect-borne illnesses in the region as more houses are built.
Building homes for the Rohingya refugees will not only prepare them for the flood-heavy, challenging months ahead, but provide much-needed comfort in their daily lives.
– Logan Moore