In the largest refugee settlement on earth, we are holding our breath
On March 24, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh confirmed a COVID-19 case. It’s now just a matter of time before the outbreak reaches the nearby camps, where hundreds of thousands of Rohinyga refugees like myself are living.
Having already endured a brutal military crackdown and displacement from our homes in Myanmar, we now face the prospect of further, protracted devastation.
A vaccine does not yet exist and could take a year or more to become available, meaning that the scourge of COVID-19 could circulate in the bustling confines of the camps for months.
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Social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine are fantasies for Rohingya refugees like me. My family of seven lives inside a 5-meter (16-foot) tarpaulin structure. Such flimsy shelters are the norm in the camps here, which have an average density of more than 100,000 people per square mile.
What makes matters worse is that we rely on aid for survival. People here do not have access to income, and so cannot afford the most basic materials needed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as face masks and soap. In the camps, dozens of people share a hand-pump and toilet. Hygiene is a luxury.
Bangladesh, which has recorded 56 cases of the virus and six deaths throughout the country, has imposed a lockdown on Cox’s Bazar, including on the camps.
Sep 29, 2020The executive committee, headed by the principal secretary to the prime minister, will oversee the overall process of the relocation The government has formed a high-powered executive committee with respect to the planned relocation of nearly 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhashan Char from the congested camps in Cox’s Bazar, multiple sources told Dhaka Tribune on Monday. […]
Sep 26, 2020