Concern Worldwide continues help for Cox’s Bazaar fire victims by providing hot meals

Food preparation for distribution in Cox's Bazaar
Food preparation in community kitchen in Cox's Bazaar Rohingya refugee camp. Photo: Heather Macey/Concern Worldwide

Concern Worldwide is continuing its response to the huge blaze in Cox’s Bazaar refugee camp by providing two hot meals a day to some of the 61,000 people impacted.

The fire last week left 13 people dead, 45,000 people without a home and destroyed thousands of shelters in the camp, home to almost one million Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar in 2017. More than 400 people are reported missing or separated from their families, many of them children.

Along with local partner SARPV and with support from the World Food Programme (WFP), Concern are running community kitchens to provide lunch and dinner to 13,500 people who lost their homes.

“An operation like this requires hundreds of staff and volunteers; preparing, cooking, packing food in a camp where there is limited space and high temperatures,” said Heather Macey, Concern’s Emergency Response Director in Cox’s Bazaar. “It is a mammoth task to set a kitchen up from scratch overnight. The amount of rice needed for just one day alone is 5.2 metric tonnes.”

Concern continues to support those affected with shelter and psychosocial support, with funding from Irish Aid’s Emergency Response Fund Scheme (ERFS). It is also screening children, pregnant women, new mothers and vulnerable people for malnutrition and referring anyone at risk for treatment and support.

The hot meals service is an interim measure until the people living in the camps can once again cook for themselves. Concern and its partners are procuring cooking utensils to give to people once their new shelters are constructed.  

“With monsoon rains due next month (April) there is a huge need for shelters to be completed before then,” said Ms Macey.

“The Rohingya people who have endured too many tragedies continue to be resilient. Rohingya volunteers were the first responders to the fire and continue to play a key role in the response. Families in other camps have mobilised, taking in many families from the fire area into their shelters and sharing the limited resources they have,” she added.

Concern has been working in Bangladesh since 1972 and in Cox’s Bazaar since 2017.

For media queries contact Eilis Staunton, Media Relations officer at eilis.staunton@concern.net or 085 872 0720.

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