Rohingya crisis one year on: Holding on to hope
During the last year, more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees were forced to leave their homes in Myanmar to escape violence and discrimination.
Most of the people who escaped are now severely traumatized after witnessing unspeakable atrocities. These people found temporary shelter in refugee camps around Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, which is now home to the world’s largest refugee camp. Refugees have access to the basics, such as food and health care, but they are still extremely vulnerable, living in highly challenging circumstances, exposed to the monsoon elements and dependent on aid.
How has Scottish Government money been spent?
With £60,000 of funding from the Scottish Government Humanitarian Emergencies Fund (HEF), Christian Aid supported 1,480 families (approximately 8,880 people), providing them with emergency shelter kits and WASH kits. Community health campaigns were also conducted to promote good hygiene practices. Furthermore, in the satellite medical camp, more than 5,000 people were treated for a range of conditions and injuries.
Christian Aid’s response supported Rohingya families in Jamtoli Camp, Palonkhali Union, in the Ukhia Upazila of Cox's Bazar District with emergency shelter support and water, sanitation and health (WASH) facilities (141 more families than the original project plan anticipated). The emergency shelter kits comprise 6x3 metre tarpaulin, 6x3 metre plastic ground sheet and 30m of rope. Those who received a kit were able to construct their own shelter with the guidance of Majhis (community leaders).
While the standard of the kits was basic, they were critical in protecting families from the continuing monsoon rains. The shelters also protected girls, women and children who are particularly at risk of violence and abuse while living in the open air or in overcrowded shelters.
Each of the households received one WASH kit, comprising one 20-litre bucket, two mugs, four bathing soap bars, five laundry soap bars, 500ml disinfectant liquid (Savlon/Dettol), four 2m menstrual cloths, one soap case, and ten Oral Rehydration Salts (Orsalins). Open-air dramas, performed before the camp communities, demonstrated the importance of good hygiene practices. The WASH kits and hygiene campaigns not only contributed to improving people’s health in the overcrowded camps but also helped to reduce the spread of communicable disease.
Phase One of the Humanitarian Response Plan included the establishment of essential health care provision to the Rohingya population whose needs included treatment for physical injuries, gunshot wounds, burns, prevention/treatment of communicable diseases, antenatal care, emergency obstetric care services, reproductive health and sexual/gender-based violence.
Christian Aid’s partner Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) established a satellite medical camp and HEF funding financed two doctors, one paramedic and one nurse for fifteen days. In that period, they treated 5,495 people for violence-related injuries, infectious diseases (diarrhoeal, dysentery), skin diseases, malnutrition, and respiratory tract infections, among other conditions.