The situation for Rohingya recently arrived in Indonesia is complicated. It’s complicated because it’s actually very good compared to any of the alternatives. In one of the camps our team visited this week, they even experienced a carnival-like atmosphere complete with marching band.
These are definitely refugees but unlike anywhere we’ve ever seen.
The Acehnese are reaching out to the Rohingya in amazing ways. Mountains of clothing, food, water, medical help, and a marching band. The community is welcoming them into their homes. We are told the Acehnese are welcoming the Rohingya into their communities and resent any talk of outsiders moving them somewhere else. They want them to stay.
We are still helping, but we want you to know that the Indonesians are already doing a great job. Our relief team has bought and distributed large volumes of medicine, clothing, and hygiene supplies. We’ve also been able to purchase one of the community’s major requests–a playground for the children to play after spending months at sea in crammed conditions.
We will visit the rest of the camps in Aceh and will continue the assessment. It’s very likely that our help will not be needed long. We wish every country that had refugees and asylum seekers were as kind and generous as the examples we have seen over the past week. We’ll keep on assessing the need and filling gaps if we find them.
But in the meantime, the needs of Rohingya in Rakhine State haven’t diminished. The persecution and oppression continues in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Even today, there are new reports from people we trust of “floating camps” on the Andaman Sea where an unknown number of more Rohingya are suffering from abuse that is difficult to comprehend.
With your help, we have also organized more rice this week to communities near Sittwe that we have been helping since 2012. Join us in continuing to advocate for justice and peace for all people in Myanmar/Burma.
The future is still uncertain and many questions remain, but it gives us hope for a brighter future for the Rohingya when we have glimpses of kindness and compassion like we have seen in Indonesia.
From the Partners Relief & Development team.