A SKIPTON businessman who travelled to Bangladesh last autumn to help refugees in desperate circumstances has returned from a second aid mission to the country.

Aroj Ali, owner of The Taj, Broughton Road, together with Razaq Hussain, from Keighley, and Naseeb Abbas and Asif Nazir from Oldham, have just returned home after an eight-day trip to help Rohingya Muslim refugees.

The intend to make a third trip in June.

At least 850,000 Rohingya have been forced into Bangladesh from neighbouring Burma. They now live in squalid, hopelessly overcrowded camps in south-east Bangladesh.

Mr Hussain said the refugees’ plight had not improved since he and his colleagues first went to Bangladesh last October.

“If anything, conditions have got worse. There are even larger numbers of refugees, a lot more children, and there’s no long-term solution.”

The volunteers undertook both aid missions under the banner of the group 1 Vision.

Last October they distributed £100,000-worth of aid to the Rohingya, and this time they distributed £50,000-worth of provisions, linking up with charity Al-Imdaad Foundation, which provided support on the ground.

Mr Hussain said the items given out on their last mission included 12,000 hot meals, 2,000 25-kilo food packs, 1,900 blankets and 1,000 'goody bags' for children.

He said much of the money raised to enable this was collected through 1 Vision’s £100 Challenge, where the group asked for 1,000 people to give £100 each.

Mr Hussain thanked businesses that contributed, including Keighley’s Shimla Spice, Intercity Travel, Intercity Money, The Travel Centre and the Taj restaurant, in Skipton.

“There was even one online donation of 2,000 dollars from someone in Canada,” he said.