Cox’s Bazar (25 February 2018) – Six months after more than 688,000 refugees from Myanmar fled from mass violence to neighboring Bangladesh, providing continued support for medical treatment, sanitation, and shelter remain the most pressing needs.
“Six months into the crisis, every day that passes means that people are at risk of being forgotten. It is vital that we continue our support, particularly ahead of the monsoon rains, which will have a detrimental effect on the aid services we have provided thus far. We only have a short window to act or else the situation could deteriorate dramatically,” says Zia Choudhury, CARE Bangladesh’s Country Director.
The concentration of refugees is now among the densest in the world. Looming monsoon rains threaten to flood settlement areas, making it more difficult for refugees to access basic services including medical facilities, tube wells and aid distribution points. In addition, some of the emergency structures, such as latrines and bathing places, are at risk of being washed away. This is of particular concern as heavy rainfall could contaminate water sources and lead to outbreaks of communicable diseases.
“The temporary shelters and structures are not built to withstand heavy downpours. Our teams have been trainings refugees on key safe construction techniques, information on how to stabilize their tents and have provided building materials such as tools and bamboo. We have also started to decommission unusable latrines and are simultaneously building newer and safer ones to reduce the risk of disease outbreaks,” Choudhury adds.
CARE has been working in the refugee camps since the beginning of the crisis and reached almost 200,000 people with emergency shelter, medical support, clean water, sanitation, and other relief services. To ramp up aid efforts, CARE had appealed for US$10 million for an initial 12 months. Six months into the crisis, only half of the appeal is funded.