More than 910,000 Rohingya people have fled to Cox’s Bazar, southern Bangladesh, where they now live in camps. The Rohingya have suffered discrimination, statelessness and violence for decades in Myanmar. Now they face new threats: mudslides caused by monsoon rains and diseases that spread fast in overcrowded conditions, as well as hunger.
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
The people and the government of Bangladesh has welcomed the Rohingya refugees with generosity and open borders, including during the latest and largest influx of Rohingya people fleeing Myanmar in 2017. But the situation in the camps remains urgent.
Initially, local sanitation facilities were completely inadequate to cope with the influx of refugees. Our partners have been providing clean water and installing and maintaining separate men’s and women’s toilets. We are also providing hygiene training and hygiene packs which contain basics such as soap, and we’re helping to establish water and sanitation committees to ensure toilet and water points are properly maintained. The spread of disease remains a constant threat, due to overcrowding.
Our water and sanitation response is part of a wider programme which includes distributing food and trauma care. We are also making the camps safer at night, particularly for women and children, by installing solar lights.
Sokina’s home is now a makeshift shelter in a camp in Cox’s Bazar, in southern Bangladesh. Sokina, 25, used to live a peaceful life with her husband in Myanmar. Then the army came. They killed her husband in front of her; when her father tried to intervene, they killed him too.
Deeply traumatised, Sokina wept for days. Eventually, she fled with her baby son to Bangladesh. Her son has a chronic condition that needs treatment.
Until recently, there was no latrine close to Sokina’s shelter. The nearest ones were too far away for her to use safely, especially at night. Now, our partner CCDB has constructed a twin-pit latrine close to her home, which means that now at least she has a safe, clean toilet – and her dignity restored.