Life in a refugee camp should never be considered an acceptable long-term solution. The world largest refugee camp is in Cox’s bazaar, Bangladesh. About 1.1 million of Rohingya from Myanmar are living here from 2015.More than half of this big number are children and women. At the beginning hour they live under poverty line though government of Bangladesh always aware to ensure a better life for them. Last three years, Rohingya refugees have been telling they want to go home and resume normal life. They want their children to go to school and for families separated by the conflict to be reunited. Almost 3 years they wait for justice.

As Covid-19 is now a world crisis. Adept people over and again told to adhere social distance, wash hands, and have access to strong health-care systems, yet this virus has still brought them to their knee. It is the only way to escape from this epidemic situation before the discover of antidote. In the densely camps of Cox’s Bazaar, options of social distancing or self-isolation are remote. Simple hygiene practices such as regular hand washing become complicated feats of logistical planning when access to clean water is severely limited. The result of those limitation Covid-19 speared all over the Rohingya camp.

To keep them save from corona virus the District Administration Cox’s bazaar has established isolation. A technical committee and a medical response team have been established under the lead of the Civil Surgeon. The Government of Bangladesh closed schools across the country from 17 in line with this, the RRRC has closed educational facilities in the refugee camps.

In support of Government plans, the humanitarian community – NGO’s and UN – have developed an inter-sector preparedness and response plan for refugees and host communities. The core principles of the plan are a) nondiscrimination and respect for human dignity, b) engagement of communities in the response and c) ensuring continuing needs of the Rohingya and host community populations are met. Rohingya volunteers are mobilizing throughout the camps to spread hygiene and prevention messaging that will protect their families and loved ones. Volunteers from the host community are being trained too, supporting everything from delivering awareness training to implementing referral mechanisms and medical treatment. Despite all these facilities, the number of corona positive patients in the Rohingya camp are 29 and total of 700 people took the covid-19 test (source-Al jazeera). Looking at the victims, the number of children and female patients is more noticeable.

Rohingya refugees are hiding various problems including fever, cold and cough in fear of corona virus. Instead of going to the doctor with the problem, they are buying medicine from the shop in the refugee camp and treating it from home.  Many people do not want to be tested for corona virus. They fear that if the corona virus test is positive, all family members, including the patient, will be isolated in the hospital. At least two Rohingya infected with the corona virus have already fled.

According to health experts, hiding the problem of corona virus infection will spread the virus.  The consequences can be devastating. It could spread beyond the Rohingya refugee camps to the whole of Cox’s Bazaar. In this context, for the first time in the country, considering the level of corona virus infection, the local administration has declared Cox’s Bazaar district as a red zone. For this result the number of patients in Rohingya increase day by day. To reduce its continuity, the Rohingya’s need to be aware and abide by the rules.

Tahrima Islam
Assistant Director, Press, Publicity and Publication Affairs.
China Bangladesh Friendship Center Limited-CBFCL

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