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The Rohingya crisis: surviving in the camps of Cox’s Bazar

In August 2017, 600,000 Rohingya fled the violence in their villages in Myanmar and sought refuge across the border in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Tdh deployed an emergency aid team to deliver health care and child protection.

The Rohingya families living in makeshift camps in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh face extremely difficult conditions. Many have experienced traumatic events and face an uncertain future.

Our emergency team is seeking to save as many lives as possible. Tdh has been present in Bangladesh for over 40 years, running health projects in the country’s northern and southern regions. We are now  helping Rohingya refugees in the camps of Cox’s Bazar with peri- and post-natal health, malnutrition prevention and treatment, hygiene and sanitation, and psychosocial support for children seriously affected by the conflict.

Our strength lies in our multisectoral approach: our medical visits and health care services all incorporate a protection component. Team members examine children’s health and provide treatment while assessing their psychological status and living conditions. This integrated approach helps reduce mortality rates for children and mothers, and addresses the vulnerability of refugees living in difficult-to-access areas.

Preparation for the monsoon season

The monsoon season between April and September poses another major challenge. “There are no foundations in the camp. Everything could collapse and fly away in minutes. We’re ensuring our health and childcare centres can provide proper cover when the most precarious shelters collapse,” explains Martin Morand, our humanitarian emergency expert. During this time, we continue to provide life-saving nutritional care to children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in our clinics. To lower the risk of eventual outbreak of water-borne disease as latrines overflow, our emergency services include bucket chlorination and decontamination of latrines. Through our lost children and caregivers meeting points, where children are housed until they are reunited with their caregivers, we ensure their protection.