With the monsoon in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar have emerged as a dengue hotspot, with the mosquito-borne disease continuing to spread among the stateless refugees.
"A total of 1,066 dengue cases were reported in highly cramped refugee camps in Cox's Bazar up to May 23 this year, while the case tally was only 426 among the local community there," Dr Nazmul Islam, Director of Disease Control and Line of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said.
Although learning centres in Cox’s Bazar Kutupalong Refugee Camp are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mariom Akhter, a Rohingya mother of four, is grateful not only for the schooling her children have had but the training sessions she as a parent was able to attend. The skills she learnt has helped her assist her children with their education at home in a crisis.
It’s something she’s likely needed to help her children with over the last few weeks after a Mar. 22 fire spread through the camp, destroying the shelters of at least 45,000 people as well as important infrastructure, including hospitals, learning centres, aid distribution points and a registration centre. At least 15 people were reported dead and 400 missing.
The building that was once the largest health centre in the Kutupalong refugee camp, serving some 55,000 Rohingya refugees 24/7, is now a burnt, distorted shell after a massive fire spread through the Cox’s Bazar camp in Bangladesh this week.
And as the tens of thousands of affected Rohingya return to the empty pieces of land that where once their homes, the need to rebuild — both the health facility and their homes — has added impetus because of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the coming monsoon season.
Rohingya women are coming together to feature their own work, plight and stories in mainstream conversations about their community — a space they say they’ve been left out of.
“If we think of revolutions or liberty or think of any ways to liberate ourselves from the shackle of suffering and being dubbed as 'the most persecuted minority on earth', women have to be part of it,” Yasmin Ullah, president of the Rohingya Human Rights Network, told IPS.
Last week more than 396 starving Rohingyas were rescued off the coast of Bangladesh after being at sea for two months. At least 32 had died on the boat after it failed to reached Malaysia. While it was unclear at the time of the breaking news whether the refugees were from Myanmar, where they are originally from, or Bangladesh — where more than a million Rohingya Muslims live as refugees after fleeing violence in Myanmar in 2017 — the attempt to reach Malaysia is not a new one.
COVID-19 has disrupted supply chains that are essential to assure food security in the Asia Pacific region, yet countries overall seem to have managed, so far, to keep supermarkets stocked with food and feed those who can afford it.
The Asia Pacific region is home to over 60% of humanity and also contains sub-regions with among the highest frequencies of severe weather events and some of the most challenging environments for agriculture. As a region it is characterized by diverse food systems and a multiplex of supply chains. Under normal circumstances, food security is already threatened by a multitude of factors.
Nine-year-old Mohammad Rafique used to collect vegetables from Kutupalong Bazaar and sell them at a market inside Kutupalong camp, a camp of some 600,000 Rohingyas, in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar.
All around the world, the numbers are climbing. Each day registers thousands of new cases and lives lost. In Europe, now the epicenter of the pandemic, governments know that the worst is yet to come and are implementing increasingly restrictive measures to enforce social distancing and isolation. In Cox's Bazar, we have been watching the world and holding our breath for the first confirmed case of Covid-19. With reports of the first confirmed case in the local community in Cox's Bazar, it's just a matter of time until the virus reaches the vulnerable population living in cramped conditions in the largest refugee settlement on earth. Thousands of people could die.
In a groundbreaking ruling in January 2020, the International Court of Justice demanded that Myanmar halt all measures that contribute to the genocide of the Rohingya community.
The Rohingya are a minority community living in Rakhine State in Myanmar. The Muslim Rohingya are considered intruders into Buddhist Myanmar - illegal immigrants from bordering Bangladesh. They have been always discriminated against, looked down upon, ostracized, and denied any civil and judicial rights.
Thousands of Rohingya refugees in camps in Cox’s Bazar, the southern-most coastal district in Bangladesh, protested on Thursday, Nov. 15, against an attempt to send them back to Myanmar.
Policies that allow for impunity, genocide, and apartheid are “intolerable” and make repatriation of Rohingya refugees impossible, say United Nations investigators.
Over one year ago, Bangladesh opened its doors in response to what is now the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. But questions still remain on how to rehabilitate the steadily growing population.
After the release of a scathing report on Myanmar’s human rights violations, next steps to achieve accountability and justice remain elusive and uncertain.
August 25, 2018 marked one year since violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, triggering the massive Rohingya exodus to neighbouring Bangladesh. As the crisis continues with no immediate end in sight, it is crucial to expand and sustain health and life skills services for Rohingya women, girls and youth to locate opportunities amid challenges.
At 12, Mohammed* is an orphan. He watched his parents being killed by Myanmar government soldiers a year ago. And he is one of an estimated half a million Rohingya children who have survived and been witness to what the United Nations has called genocide.
Aid funding for refugee relief is running out while conditions are still not in place for the safe return of over 700,000 people forced to flee Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh after violence broke out one year ago.
Despite having the strong support of influential global leaders, Bangladesh has "missed" the opportunity to mobilise the world’s superpowers and place pressure on Myanmar to allow for the repatriation of the Rohingya refugees.