The Rohingya crisis: surviving in the camps of Cox’s Bazar
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. 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 in difficult-to-access areas.
Mother and child health
15% of the children in the camps are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Tdh manages several malnutrition treatment centres in Kutupalong extension camp, targeting over 35,000 children under five years and pregnant or lactating women. We train community volunteers in the camps on screening children and mothers and detecting malnutrition symptoms. They refer the severe acute malnutrition cases to Tdh treatment centres where they receive appropriate medical attention and counselling sessions. Breastfeeding mothers are made aware on the nutrition needs of babies for their healthy development and 6 months to 5 year old children get therapeutic food, which lasts approximately ten weeks and allows children to receive correct dosage of nutrients to regain their physical strength.
Water, sanitation and hygiene
Through landslides and flooding due to the monsoon rains between April and September, the water quality decreases. The Tdh team chlorinates water at its sources to ensure safe water supply in the camp and to mitigate the risk of disease outbreaks. Tdh also focuses on latrine rehabilitation, maintenance, decommissioning and desludging. We are working closely with the refugee community to reinforce their hygiene practices by promoting positive hygiene messages through door-to-door sessions and mass events such as plays. Tdh covers the water, sanitation and hygiene needs of tens of thousands refugees in Kutupalong extension camp.
Tdh trains staff, volunteers, community members and adolescents on child protection practices in order to increase their knowledge and capacity to protect children and youth. In our six child friendly spaces, each of which hosts around 500 children per day, our staff provides a safe space for children to enjoy psychosocial activities that contribute to their emotional, motor skills and creativity development. Through our lost children and caregivers meeting points, where children are housed until they are reunited with their caregivers, we ensure the protection of children who get lost.
Supporting host communities
While the humanitarian aid initially focused on the emergency response for life-saving activities in the camps, we are moving towards more sustainable approaches which mitigate the impact of the refugee influx on the Bangladeshi communities. This is why we opened a new base in Teknaf, where around 130,000 refugees live in camps within the host communities. We will be able to support both host communities and refugees with water facilities, sanitation, a health post and child protection activities.