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Please help Oxfam to aid Rohingya refugees

As we begin another new year, we hope for health and prosperity and that those dear to us will enjoy a happy and safe 2018. Sadly, for millions of people around the globe, their basic survival, rather than happiness, is the immediate priority for the next 12 months.

One group of people for whom 2018 starts with great uncertainty and insecurity are the Rohingya refugees. Currently, close to one million Rohingya people have fled violence in Myanmar to seek refuge across the border in Bangladesh, with over 620,000 arriving since August alone.

Many have arrived with just the clothes on their backs. They are in desperate need of food, clean water and shelter. Those who survive the treacherous journey are living in makeshift tents in hugely overcrowded settlements.

Conditions in the camps are woefully inadequate and unhealthy, with overflowing latrines and contaminated water. They're largely unlit and dangerous at night, making women, girls and children particularly vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and trafficking.

Thanks to help from the people of Northern Ireland, we are there. We are providing life-saving water and sanitation to help prevent the spread of deadly disease.

To date, we have distributed emergency food and have recruited 248 volunteers from local Bangladeshi communities to help us raise awareness about the importance of handwashing and hygiene in staying healthy and safe in crowded camps.

In total, we've reached 185,000 people and hope to reach more than 200,000. In 2017, the people of Northern Ireland were extraordinarily generous to Oxfam Ireland's work and are appealing to that generosity once again and asking that your readers please donate to our Rohingya Emergency Appeal, either in-store or at oxfamireland.org/bangladesh.

Please consider helping us so we can ensure that 2018 is a year that starts to bring hope and possibility for Rohingya refugees.

JIM CLARKEN

Chief executive, Oxfam Ireland

Belfast Telegraph

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