The rhythmic pitter-patter of the rain on the white tarpaulin roof is the only sound to be heard in the camp: no television, no music, no children laughing. The silence is in stark contrast to the noisy streets of Cox’s Bazar, which we passed through on our way here.
The quiet is only interrupted by the sound of the muezzin’s voice; his calls to prayer are broadcast over the hills and through the muddy valleys from silver-grey speakers hung from trees.
To donate and contribute to Rohingya refugees and Rohingya students, please go to www.allmercy.org
Camp 7 is located in the northeast section of Kutupalong, the world’s largest refugee settlement. Officials estimate that up to 40,000 people live per square kilometre. Nobody knows the exact number of Rohingya people stranded in the coastal town on the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar, an area that was once jungle. Some reports say 1 million people live among the camps, but it could be 1.2 million or even more.
From a hilltop, you can survey the camps. Rows of huts stretch as far as the eye can see. Plastic tarps serve as roofs on structures made from bamboo; very few houses have tin roofs.
Rohingya have fled Myanmar since the 1970s. Within the space of a few months last year, more than 700,000 people from the Muslim minority fled to Bangladesh to escape the intensifying brutality and violence at home. Nobody knows how many people were murdered, but one thing is clear: it is one of the worst genocides in the recent history of South Asia.
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