Bangladesh (MNN) — Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are about to face yet another danger to their lives. Except for this time, it’s not from any government or human being. It’s from nature. Bangladesh has entered its spring monsoon season.
“Aside from all the political chaos between the U.N. and governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar trying to work out some sort of repatriation agreement, it’s just the weather,” FMI’s Bruce Allen shares. “I’ve heard one aid worker say that they expect a major loss of life in the coming weeks because [of] monsoon rains.”
Bangladesh was compassionate when it cleared forests to make room for refugees. But in doing so, it also diluted huge forest areas on hills. There’s little vegetation on these hillsides to hold the earth in place, making these areas susceptible to landslides and flooding.
“It is a tense situation. One assessment I read performed by the Dhaka University and the U.N. High Commission for Refugees suggests that up to one-third of the settlement areas could be flooded in the coming weeks,” Allen explains.
“Up to 85,000 refugees losing their shelters and another 23,000 living on the slopes that could risk the landslides.”
This is one reason why there’s a desire to see these refugees repatriated into their home countries. However, as it’s a bit more complicated when it comes to the Rohingya refugees’ situation. And it’s currently unknown if and how repatriation would work for Rohingya refugees, or even when it would be possible.
Caring for Refugees
And while the physical danger is near, the Gospel is always urgent. FMI-supported pastors are going into refugee camps in Bangladesh and caring both physically and spiritually for these people. Allen says they’re not just trying share the truth of Christ’s message, but they’re also trying to show the compassion of the message.
“[Jesus] loves His creation, this humanity. And [He] comes to heal, comes to lift up, and comes to restore people’s relationship with God,” Allen shares. “So it’s a very pertinent message for people, but it takes a lot of energy to reach a refugee population when they’re not your own ethnic background.”
FMI pastors sometimes need translators to work with refugees. They also have to spend long hours traveling to even reach the refugee camps. But FMI supported pastors are giving these refugees something that can’t be taken away—the hope of Christ.
So please, pray for the governments’ communication to be candid, clear, and transparent through the repatriation negotiations. Also, pray that all fears and reasons to fear will be removed from the refugees if and when they return home. And pray that as the refugees find what safety and shelter in Bangladesh they can, that they’d encounter transformation through belief and repentance in Jesus Christ and through that, that they’d also experience Jesus’ crazy, sufficient, and beautiful love for them.
Help support the FMI pastors visiting these refugees by donating to FMI’s “Tangible Resources” account. These financial gifts help provide pastors with fuel to travel to the refugee camps. It provides curriculum in the refugees’ own languages for Sunday school classes as wells as physical needs like blankets, water, baby food, and more.