Cologne/Cox’s Bazar. Malteser International is responding in the aftermath of the deadly fire that broke out in the Bangladeshi city of Cox's Bazar on Monday. The blaze destroyed thousands of shelters inside the world’s largest refugee settlement, displacing 45,000 people and injuring over 500. Eleven people have been reported dead and over 400 are still missing.
Cordula Wasser, Head of Regional Group Asia at Malteser International said:
“The situation is chaotic inside the camp. Many people are still unaccounted for and families have been torn apart. The fire has not just caused physical pain for the affected camp residents. There is also emotional agony of losing what little they had. It is saddening to see the refugees suffer another trauma after having fled persecution in their home country. Our teams are now helping to reunite children with their parents and provide psychosocial care for those affected. The fire also destroyed a number of health facilities, putting medical care inside the settlement in an even worse state than before. We will be scaling up medical assistance in the coming weeks to cater to rising health needs and for that we need every support we can get.”
Cox's Bazar hosts around 900,000 ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar. In August 2017, a campaign of violence targeted at the Rohingya forced more than 750,000 people to flee from their homes in Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh. Since then, Malteser International has worked with local organizations to provide medical and psychosocial care for the refugees and the vulnerable communities hosting them. In addition to running three health centers, Malteser International’s team and partners train community health volunteers to spread information on good hygiene and protection against COVID-19. Project activities are supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.
Malteser International is the humanitarian relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta. With over 100 projects in 29 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, Malteser International supports those affected by poverty, disease, conflict and disaster, helping them lead a healthy life with dignity – without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles build the foundation of our work. For more information: www.malteser-international.org and www.orderofmalta.int
Cordula Wasser, Head of Regional Group Asia, is available for interviews.