United Methodist Committee on Relief

Rohingya receive temporary relief amid conflict 

By Bella Simonetti*

BA DU PA, Myanmar—Mya fled with her firstborn child when government militia attacked her home village in 2012. Seeking safety from persecution, they took shelter in Done Pyin village near Sittwe. A year later, they moved in hopes of finding better shelter and food.

They now live in Ba Du Pa, a camp for other displaced Rohingya near Sittwe. They cannot return home. Mya has two more children who were born in other camps and is seven months pregnant with her fourth. There is a serious malnutrition concern for her health and her unborn baby as she is not getting adequate health care in the camp.

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Rohingya photo: An unregistered, displaced Rohingya family sit together outside of their makeshift shelter in Sittwe, Myanmar. PHOTO COURTESY OF MUSLIM AID 

Their living conditions are cramped, and her children have never set foot in a classroom. Ba Du Pa offers no opportunities for work, so Mya can’t earn wages or buy food. She and her children aren’t strangers to hunger. Skipping meals is normal for the family. 

“I just want to make sure my children, including the one in my belly, will never have to worry about food,” said Mya. 

Mya arrived too late to register for United Nations’ World Food Program. However, with funding support from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Muslim Aid United Kingdom (MA-UK) stepped in to help. Some 3,345 families that were not registered for World Food Program monthly support received packages containing mosquito nets as well as rice, and other nutritious foods. Mya and her family were happy to receive the packages, finding temporary relief amid the chaos.

Together, UMCOR and MA-UK work to reduce food insecurity and improve nutritional intake of the Rohingya population, which is severely impacted by ongoing conflict. 

After the baby is born, Mya hopes to find a job. She would like to earn enough to feed her children regularly and to fix her shelter before the upcoming monsoon season. 

Like thousands of displaced Rohingya, Mya and her family’s future is uncertain without continued intervention from the international community. For now, Mya doesn’t have to worry about food.  

*Bella Simonetti is communications specialist from Mission Engagement for Global Ministries.