Today the male members of the Sreepur Village team, Nayeem and zaffor, left the hotel very early then joined the army patrol to four of the hills. They distributed tokens to families with babies who seemed malnourished. Major Tanim was adamant that Shamima and I could not join them. As I was the only obvious foreigner at the camp today, I think it would have created an extra hassle for everyone else if I had left the beaten track!
On the way to the camp we saw smoke from a huge fire in Myanmar and just hoped it was not another village up in flames.
When we left yesterday the large mud field in front of the camp was virtually empty. Today it was packed as 20,000 more refugees had arrived overnight. The army personnel had worked well in-to-the night and a baby had been born in the very early hours, both mother and child had to be sent to Teknaf hospital.
As we waited to distribute our supplies of baby food to those with tokens, we watched the most amazing logistical exercise. Every day, 12,000 children are given a meal of meat and rice (this one seemed to be funded by the Turkish Red Cross/ Red Crescent). This is one of the four sites that, in the middle of the day, provides a hot meal of meat and rice. A total of 84,000 meals are served to women and children. This does not include the sacks of dry food (rice and lentils) that are also distributed to thousands or the medical clinic which provides free basic medicine.
After the meal was finished one soldier was delegated to help us collect the tokens and distribute the baby formula, he was very helpful. It was ironic for us to be working a token system as we have a Token Economy System for our mothers and children in The Sreepur Village! Sixteen cans had disappeared over the morning which was a small loss considering the circumstances. We handed out all the cans and when we ran out we gave some money to those few who had tokens - so they could buy milk.
We asked the Major if there was anything that our small organisation could help with. He said hygiene was a big issue and nappies for the babies and sanitary towels for the women would be most useful. So our mission, when we get back, is to help with these things.
They could also do with a night time service for pregnant women and those in labour as at the moment NGO's can only offer treatment during the day.
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