In August 2017, some 680,000 Rohingya fled violent clashes in Myanmar to find refuge in the coastal town of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. One year after the flight, the need for help remains immense in the world's biggest refugee camp. Interview with Rebekka Toyka, Project Manager for Malteser International’s Bangladesh response, who was on ground.Read more
Help for refugees from Myanmar
A brutal military offensive against an insurgent group in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in August 2017 forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people to flee across the border into Bangladesh. Neither the Government of Bangladesh nor the international community were prepared for the large-scale humanitarian crisis that followed. Currently, more than 680,000 Rohingya refugees, many of whom have suffered serious injuries and psychological trauma, have arrived in Bangladesh's south-eastern districts of Cox's Bazar and Bandarban.
Hoping for assistance, the refugees - arriving with barely any possessions - settled along an access road to Cox's Bazar, where the Bangladeshi government and the UN opened up camps to accommodate them. These camps have been expanded to a mega camp. But the situation of the refugees remains dire: hygiene conditions are poor. The overcrowded camps heighten the risks of deadly diseases spreading quickly, especially in the rainy season. There is little access to safe drinking water, food, shelter, healthcare, schools and more.
Malteser International is active in the refugee camps working mainly in the areas of mother and infant health, hygiene, nutrition and psychosocial support. We are providing basic medical care in two health centers that serve around 20,000 people inside the camp. We are in close contact with the health authorities in Bangladesh and are able to transfer difficult cases to nearby clinics. To prevent the spread of diseases, we also carry out trainings on good health and hygiene. In the field of nutrition, our first aim is to identify expectant or nursing mothers and children below 5 years who are suffering from malnutrition or undernourishment. Identified children and women thereupon receive supplementary nutrition. This part of our activities in the refugee camp helps us to reach about 10,800 mothers and children. As with injured or sick people, severe cases of malnutrition are referred to the nearest support center.
Improved healthcare and nutrition for mothers and children in refugee camps
- Provision of basic health services with emphasis on infant and maternal health in 2 health centers serving 20,000 people
- Transfer of emergencies to the nearest hospital
- Health and hygiene awareness campaigns in the refugee camps
- Identification and monitoring of the nutritional status of pregnant women, nursing mothers and children aged 6-59 months
- Provision of Pre-Mix Food rations for identified mothers and children
- Transfer of emergencies to the nearest supply center for malnourished women and children.
- Psychosocial support for traumatized persons.
Area: 143,998 km²
Population: approx. 162 million
September 2017 – August 2018
Funding: The German Relief Coalition (Aktion Deutschland Hilft - ADH), German Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt - AA)
Partners: Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK)
Last Update: February 2018
Yasin Sadak* still feels pain from the gunshot wounds on his forearm and hand. The wounds are a reminder of a horrific experience that would remain with him for a long time. He remembers the fateful night in August 2017, when he was shot while running away from armed men who had attacked his village in northwestern Myanmar.Read more