Bangladesh (MNN) — Last week, a large Rohingya refugee camp in southern Bangladesh caught fire and burned to the ground. Though no one was hurt, thousands of refugees lost their homes and all their belongings.
The Rohingya have already been driven from their homeland in Myanmar, where they have been the target of genocide since 2016. Greg Kelley of World Mission says, “They’re living in areas that were never intended to be inhabited in the first place. We’re talking about hills that are very susceptible to flooding. What happened was a fire broke out. People are given these little tanks of fuel, and one of them caught on fire. The wind just swept through this camp. Hundreds of homes, tents, made out of bamboo sticks, were totally destroyed.”
Christians among the Rohingya
But within an oppressed community, the Christian population suffers even more oppression. Most Rohingya identify as Muslim. Christians often are the last in line to receive food, shelter, and other aid. Kelley says, “But there’s also a great opportunity for those who are Muslim, that the body of Christ can meet them in this very incredible time of need. As we show the love of the Gospel and care for their physical needs, we are seeing Rohingya Muslims come to Christ.”
Kelley says the unprecedented refugee crisis happening around the world right now should be a wake-up call to the global Church. “The Bride of Christ needs to wake up to what’s going on. Organizations like World Mission are going in there, not just with humanitarian aid, and not just with compassion, but with the Gospel. Because that is the only thing that is going to cause long term transformation and change this situation.”
World Mission is working to get food, shelter, and other aid to the Rohingya. You can donate to World Mission and find out more about what they do here.
In the aftermath of this fire, pray God would protect the Rohingya people from the elements and from starvation. Out of the millions of Rohingya refugees, Kelley says children make up about 50%. This community is incredibly vulnerable.
Pray also that many Rohingya would find hope in Jesus during a very hopeless time.
The header photo shows the destruction of the camp. (Courtesy of World Mission)