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Mar 6, 2019

Safety and Dignity in the Camps

Marzaan and her children in their home
Marzaan and her children in their home

 Dear Supporter,

Thanks in part to your support, Concern continues to respond to the Rohingya refugee crisis in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. A needs assessment in October of 2018 illustrated the need for lighting in the camps. A lack of adequate lighting puts people, especially women and children, in danger when moving around the camp after dark. It also interferes with children’s ability to study and the productivity of their parents after dark. Based on the identified needs, Concern Worldwide carried out a solar light distribution in November of 2018. Today. I want to share with you the story of one of the families who received a solar light.

Marzaan has nine children (6 boys and 3 girls), and is originally from the Rakhine state of Myanmar. She and her children now stay in refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

“When I arrived in Bangladesh, my only belongings were my nine children. I came across the Shah Pori Island after the military attack at my village. The Burmese army set fire to the brush and five people were shot dead, including my husband Mohammad Shafi.

Marzaan had a house, several small businesses, and a happy family before she became a refugee. Upon fleeing her village with her children, she walked for five days until finding the route towards Bangladesh. After staying at a relative’s house for a couple of days, she sold her last pair of gold earrings to buy a piece of plastic sheet and travel to the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. She secured her shelter in the camp and stayed there for thirteen months. When heavy monsoons caused a landslide, Marzaan and her family had to transfer camps and lost some of their possessions.

Marzaan and her family were selected to receive a solar light through Concern’s solar light distribution program due to the face that she was a single woman with many children to support. Marzaan was very relieved to receive the light, as she had been worried about the safety of her children, especially her daughters, after dark.

She describes, “My daughters were scared to go to the latrine after dark. All of them were unable to study at night as I had no light in the house. I didn’t know how to light up the house adequately without electricity.”

Thanks in part to your contributions, families like Marzaan and her children have solved their lighting crisis, and are now able to live safer and more full lives.

Feb 26, 2019

Causes of Global Hunger

A mother and child affected by drought in Ethiopia
A mother and child affected by drought in Ethiopia

Dear Supporter,

Forced migration of people as a result of conflict, natural or environmental disaster, or other stress factors is one of the biggest causes of hunger in the world today. Writing in the 2018 Global Hunger Index, published jointly by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, Dr. Laura Hammond of SOAS University of London outlines the challenges and some possible solutions. Below are some key extracts:

During periods of conflict, hunger may be both a cause and a consequence of forced migration. People affected by conflict experience it not only as a threat to their lives but as an assault on their livelihoods that can undermine their ability to provide for their most basic needs, including food. Conflict can restrict people’s movement and their access to markets, farmland, and jobs. If they cannot produce the food they need to survive or earn an income to purchase that food, their nutritional well-being is compromised.

Some people do indeed manage to flee to safety with the bulk of their savings or assets intact and so do not face the immediate threat of hunger before they are displaced. Others are not as fortunate. By the time they move, they have lost everything. Still others are displaced multiple times, with each move further eroding their resilience, livelihood, and food security.

Common Misperceptions

An analysis of the interplay between hunger and forced migration reveals four common misperceptions.

  1. Hunger and displacement should be recognized and dealt with as political problems.
  2. Humanitarian action alone is an insufficient response to forced migration, and more holistic approaches involving development support are needed.
  3. Food-insecure displaced people should be supported in their regions of origin.
  4. The provision of support should be based on the resilience of the displaced people themselves, which is never entirely absent.

Long-term thinking

Overall, the tools currently used to respond to forced migration are insufficient, because they focus on technical, short-term humanitarian responses rather than addressing the political economy of displacement and the longer-term needs of the displaced.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promise to “leave no one behind,” and SDG2 commits the world to ending hunger by 2030.  Yet for regions hosting millions of displaced persons, the prospects for meeting those goals without considering how to include displaced populations are slim.

Lip service not enough

Policy documents, international agreements, advocacy pieces, and academic writing often pay lip service to these four points, but they are rarely incorporated into action on the ground. Addressing the challenges effectively requires going beyond humanitarian responses, recognizing the political solutions that must be encouraged and strengthened, and engaging in longer-term development efforts in the meantime.

This approach must extend to all sectors: facilitating mobility and income-generation opportunities, supporting education and training linked to employment opportunities in and around areas of displacement, providing health care support to people with chronic illnesses, and ensuring that people have access to markets so they can obtain enough high-quality food for the long term.

From the outset, displacements should be seen not as short-term crises but as potentially long-term moves that will extend over many years. If such a view is taken from the start, a great deal of time, resources, and suffering can be saved.

They received therapeutic food for a full recovery
They received therapeutic food for a full recovery
Jan 17, 2019

Help Syrian Refugees Withstand Winter Storms

Temporary shelters struggling in the storms
Temporary shelters struggling in the storms

Dear Supporter,

In the space of just two weeks, storms ‘Norma’ and ‘Miriam’ have brought torrential rain, freezing winds and snow to Lebanon, leaving Syrian refugee settlements under flood water. Concern has been providing vital support to vulnerable families.

Lebanon is currently experiencing its harshest winter in years. It comes at a time when many refugees are falling deeper into debt and have been forced to move from houses and apartments into sub-standard housing such as garages, dilapidated buildings and tents. According to a recent UN report, 34% of Syrian refugees are now living in non-residential and non-permanent structures, up from 26% in 2017. These homes are in no condition to withstand harsh winter conditions and families have been left devastated by the onslaught of two successive storms. Many homes have been badly hit by flooding. Concern has been working hard to help repair damage and provide emergency supplies to affected households.

Shelter, water and hygiene support

Following the wreckage of storm ‘Norma’, which hit Lebanon on January 6, Syrian refugee families were frantically trying to repair their damaged homes and clear them of freezing flood waters before the arrival of the second storm. Our teams got to work distributing shelter repair materials, hygiene kits and blankets as well as undertaking emergency desludging of septic tanks. They supplied pipe materials to help drain freezing flood waters from family homes and have repaired damage to vital infrastructure such as water supply pipes and latrines.

Prepositioned stocks

Prepositioned stocks were put in place before the arrival of storm ‘Miriam’ to help ensure a fast and effective response to the second onslaught. As families hoped for the best, they were prepared for the worst.

Following the damage brought by that second storm, our teams have continued to distribute repair kits and other vital items as well as supporting the desludging of homes in over 18 settlements.

Thanks in part to your support, we have supported over 2,000 Syrians across 47 settlements and will continue to respond to families' urgent needs.

Concern teams distribute emergency supplies
Concern teams distribute emergency supplies
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