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Jun 12, 2019

Nutrition in Rohingya Camps

Dear Supporter,

Thanks in part to your contributions, Concern continues to provide high quality support to vulnerable Rohingya refugees. Most Rohingya refugees are concentrated in the Cox’s Bazar district on the southeast coast of Bangladesh. Cox’s Bazar is best known for its idyllic beaches, however it is one of the poorest district in Bangladesh and the villages where most of the camps are located are among the most socially deprived in the country. The host community in Cox’s Bazar has been generous and gracious in welcoming the Rohingya refugees but they are under increasing strain as the influx continues. The price of basic goods such as firewood has more than doubled due to the increased demand.

What began as a cluster of informal settlements on a hillside in Cox’s Bazar has developed into one of the world’s largest refugee camps, hosting almost a million Rohingya refugees. Concern started working in the camp in September 2017 and was among the first humanitarian responders in the Cox’s Bazar district. Concern’s initial emergency projects responded to the immediate needs of the refugee population by providing much needed food items and later we began distributing non-food-items.

Our services have since expanded and, in partnership with UNICEF, we are now providing nutrition services to women and children in makeshift settlements throughout seven locations. We have screened well over 300,000 Rohingya children under five for malnutrition. The Cox’s Bazar refugee camps are at capacity and as the influx of Rohingya refugees continues, overcrowding is becoming a real issue. The camp’s basic services are under huge pressure and the close proximity of shelters increases the risk of illness and disease. 

Thanks in part to your support we can continue to respond to these pressing needs, and for this we are deeply grateful.

Concern staff conducting assessments.
Concern staff conducting assessments.
May 30, 2019

Quick Action to Restore Water

Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu
Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu

Dear Supporter,

Somalia has endured decades of conflict and drought, which has led to constant displacement of the population. This mass movement is most heavily felt in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, where resources and services are being pushed to breaking point.

Banadir Hospital, a national referral hospital for maternal and child health, operates in the midst of this displacement and insecurity, caring for approximately 1,000 inpatients at any one time. Under seemingly impossible conditions, the dedicated staff admit up to 100 children daily for pediatric care, deliver 15-16 babies a day, treat HIV, TB and Cholera, and perform lifesaving surgeries.

At Banadir Hospital, Concern Worldwide supports the stabilization center for under-5 children from all over Somalia suffering from the most life threatening form of malnutrition – severe acute malnutrition. This includes supporting payments for doctors and nurses, providing specialized training to build the capacity of staff, as well as supporting the day-to-day running of the center.

All of the hospital’s lifesaving services are reliant on water, and unfortunately Banadir has only one water supply – from a well. When the water supply failed there was no backup plan and by the time the staff at the hospital had noticed the failure, the water tanks had already emptied.

As Doctor Lul Mohammed, the Assistant Hospital Director explains, this put the lives of patients in critical danger.

“This was really a crisis that needed immediate attention. Services would have to stop. We would have to refuse new admissions. Mothers were already referred to another center that morning. However no other hospital could absorb all our patients and most were too unwell to go home.

There was the serious potential of an outbreak of disease. Imagine no water for staff to wash their hands, for sanitation, for cleaning. The situation doesn’t bear thinking about. It really was an imminent crisis.”

Hospital management immediately contacted Concern Health Officer, Dr. Hodan, about the water supply cut and Dr. Hodan was on-site within an hour. He coordinated Concern managers and technicians to identify the problem and fix the water supply as fast as possible. The team of technicians worked late into the evening to install the new pump and the supply of water was restored by nightfall.

“We are very thankful. Concern always responds with urgency. We are confident when contacting Concern, as they always assist. Their support to the stabilization center is deeply appreciated here.”

Concern crew working to restore water
Concern crew working to restore water
Water restored to Banadir hospital
Water restored to Banadir hospital
Apr 16, 2019

Vocational Skills for Syrian Refugees

Khadija participating in a dairy training
Khadija participating in a dairy training

Dear Supporter,

As the war in Syria drags into its ninth year, the conflict has taken on a different shape. While the ordeal for those displaced during the conflict is not nearly over, many are now looking to the day when they can at last go home. Thanks in part to supporters like you, Concern has been helping people both survive and prepare for the future.

Khadija’s Story

“I loved my home. I loved it a lot. I was very happy. Everything used to be so normal, as it should be.” Khadija* fondly remembers life in her Syrian hometown before the conflict broke out. “I would like to tell people that Syria was once such a lovely place,” she says. “You always feel that you are missing something when you are not in your own country.”

Khadija and her three children have been living as refugees in Lebanon since 2013. Like thousands of once middle-class Syrian families, they have struggled to get by with very little. Most fled their homes with nothing. But Khadija is both strong and optimistic. “Though there are a lot of things I miss… it’s okay. I realize how lucky I am.”

Khadija was one of 25 women who were selected to work at local cooperatives, where she learned how to make various cheeses, which are then sold locally. The project is part of a network of income-generating projects run by Concern in northern Lebanon for both refugees and members of the host community. In this tiny country, nearly a third of the population are refugees, putting huge pressure on resources.

The skills being taught are useful now, but have also been chosen with an eye to the future. Dairy production, yogurt and cheese processing, and marketing techniques will remain as valuable resources for those who return to Syria to pick up the pieces of a shattered economy.

Khadija is ready to come home. Despite being many miles away from her Syrian home, she says the key to its front door is still her most treasured possession. “I may have lost my home, but my keys are still with me. I aim to go back to Syria someday, rebuild my home, and use the same keys for it,” she says.

*Names have been changed for security reasons.

Khadija holding her house key from Syria
Khadija holding her house key from Syria
 
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