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International Services

Meet a Migrant Hero: Fatima

In Cox’s Bazar displacement camps, hundreds of thousands of displaced persons face rain, strong winds, landslides, and flooding. In an effort to care for one another under dangerous conditions, volunteers have learned first aid, search-and-rescue, and other preparedness skills. During heavy storms, these volunteer heroes are responsible for warning neighbors about incoming weather and responding to injuries if needed.

Since August 2017, more than 700,000 people have fled Rakhine State, Myanmar to seek safety in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Many arrived injured, malnourished, and devastated. They speak of dangerous journeys—walking days on end to reach the border and losing touch with family members along the way. Once in Bangladesh, they crowd into camps on muddy hillsides and live in structures made of bamboo, plastic, cardboard and sometimes corrugated metal sheeting. Monsoon rains and dangerous cyclone seasons put migrants at risk of landslides, floods, and destructive wind. Despite harsh conditions—and because there’s no possibility of evacuating the displacement camp during cyclones—migrants are volunteering to help their neighbors during natural disasters and other emergencies. The American Red Cross has been working alongside the Bangladesh Red Crescent and IFRC to train migrants on first aid, early warning systems, and other skills.