Hamad Lu Saung, 55, lost his home and livelihood during inter-communal violence in Myanmar. He now lives in one of many camps for displaced people in Rakhine state.

“Before the violence I lived in Thel Kone village, Pauk Taw township.” said the father-of-six, who is also known as U Maung Ni. “I farmed shrimp and my family lived comfortably.

“During the conflict, our house caught fire and our business burned down. Our family has no job and income. We are facing many difficulties.”

Around 140,000 people – mostly Rohingyas, like Hamad – fled their homes in 2012, when inter-communal violence broke out in Rakhine state. Hamad and his family are amongst those now living in camps around Sittwe, the state capital.

“Our family, including four grandchildren, moved to Anout Ywe camp. We did not get full support because we came later [than others] so we have to manage with a small amount of money which we brought with us.

“We don’t have money to buy clothes and there is no work and no job opportunities, so it is difficult to manage our household expenses.

“We have very few plates, so if we want to eat we have to wait until others finish eating [to get] a plate. The pots and plates which the UNHCR gave us are all broken.”

Dignity for Hamad and his family

Hamad Myanmar

Hamad with his family in Anout Ywe camp, Rakhine.

The aid which Islamic Relief provided to Hamad and his wife, Naw Siman Katu, 50, helped the family to live with dignity, despite the hardship they face.

“I am very glad to receive a cooking set and hygiene kit from Islamic Relief and MHDO; we have been wishing for that for a long time. We can now have our meals together as a family. We can be clean and we can brush our teeth with toothpaste again.

“Our family has suffered dengue, diarrheal diseases and malaria at one time or another. When the camp was established, there was no proper clinic and it was very hard to get treatment,” he told us, adding that local agencies have now set up a health centre serving families in the area.

“My family is just trying to survive. We rely on the assistance from the UN and NGOs.  Thank you for helping us with our immediate needs. We hope to have a peaceful environment. We look forward to having peace and tranquillity.”

Islamic Relief began providing aid in Myanmar in the wake of Cyclone Nargis in 2008. Current projects include food distribution and a major scheme to improve the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable people in Rakhine, Kayin (Karen) and Mon states.