Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 338

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh: Victims four times over

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 30 giugno 2020

“One of the key measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is social distancing. But if you live in a refugee camp, you don’t have the luxury of space to do this,” said Inmanuel Chayan Biswas, the Communications Officer for Rohingya Response Programme of Caritas Bangladesh based in Cox’s Bazar. In refugee camps in Bangladesh, the Rohingya community face not only the challenge of living in overcrowded and flimsy shelters with up to ten or more people in one room, but they also use communal latrines and water facilities and space is limited where they receive food distributions. They cannot maintain the proper distancing or hygiene measures to provide effective prevention against the spread of the coronavirus.
The first case of COVID-19 was found in the Rohingya settlements on 14th May 2020. As of 21st June 2020 there was a total of 4 deaths and 45 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Rohingya population. “But we don’t know how accurate these numbers are as there is a lack of expertise in the testing centres. The medical facilities in the Rohingya camp are not really enough considering the size of the population and only primary health care facilities are available in most cases. The Bangladeshi government has limited the activities in the camps since 25th March,” Biswas said.Initially, Rohingya who were critically ill with COVID-19 were referred to Ukhiya General Hospital or Cox’s Bazar Medical College. Now it is not possible because these hospitals are facing challenges to provide treatment facilities to the local people.
Inside the camps, far too few people have the proper information COVID-19. Therefore, Caritas Bangladesh is working across the country and in Cox’s Bazaar camps to provide prevention messaging to tens of thousands of people as well as soap and hygiene kits to thousands of families. They have also installed handwashing stations in public places and near toilets.
“They know that they need to wash their hands frequently, but a big challenge is the poor water supply and sanitation facilities at the camp.” Meanwhile, heavy rainfall is weakening the shelters where the Rohingya take refugee, there is a high fear of landslide and flood.Rohingya people have expressed serious concerns about the rainy season causing a deterioration in camp roads, paths, and stair networks thereby impacting access to necessary services and amplifying a multitude of protection issues such as physical and sexual abuse. Annual monsoon preparations in the camps were made more challenging this year by the spread and risks posed by the COVID-19.

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