At Operation USA, we know that disasters aren’t always the result of weather phenomena or other circumstances beyond control. Too often, in too many places, crises and disasters are born from violent acts at the hand of mankind. The effects of man-made disasters are just as devastating and last just as long as those caused by natural disasters. Often, they present even more challenges.
Since our earliest days, supporting refugees and other displaced peoples who have fled their homes has been a key focus of our work. Our very first relief mission in 1979 was aimed at helping the Vietnamese “boat people” in Malaysia. Later that same year, we provided aid to Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. During the 1980s, we supported refugee programs and violence-impacted communities in Somalia, El Salvador, Beirut, Poland, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, the Sudan and the Philippines. In the 1990s, we provided aid to families impacted by the Gulf War–in Kuwait, Somalia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq and Southern Turkey–and by the Rwandan genocide. During the early 2000s, we delivered additional relief aid to Iraq after Operation Iraqi Freedom, and to West Darfur, after conflicts impacted the region. For nearly 40 years, Operation USA has remained committed to helping all those affected by man-made disasters.
In recent years, the world has faced unprecedented refugee crises. In Syria, where civil war has torn the country apart, and neighboring countries, to which Syrian refugees have fled, humanitarian aid groups have struggled to meet needs. In Myanmar, the world has looked on as unspeakable acts of violence are committed against the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority group. Operation USA has ties to Myanmar, having supported disaster relief efforts in 2008 after a major cyclone devastated the country. There, we continue to monitor the violence–which has been widely described as an “ethnic cleansing.”
In neighboring Bangladesh, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are living in makeshift camps after fleeing their homes for fear of death. OpUSA is assessing opportunities to provide aid and meet rapidly growing needs as Bangladesh strains under the pressure of a growing influx of refugees while many within it’s own borders have also been displaced due to natural disasters and record flooding. The UN estimates that an average 16,000 refugees from Myanmar are arriving in the country every day. There aren’t enough camps–or supplies–to accommodate them.
Operation USA is currently reaching out to longtime partners in Bangladesh to organize relief projects supporting health care access and treatment for refugees. We also plan to deliver material aid as opportunities allow. To learn more about these efforts or to get involved with an in-kind or service-based donation, please contact email@example.com.