Christian Aid is working with some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities to help them stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes the Rohingya in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Our work with Rohingya refugees
Christian Aid has been working with Rohingya men, women and children since they were forced to flee Myanmar three years ago.
We have been providing humanitarian assistance to 150,000 Rohingya refugees and 50,000 host communities in Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh.
Working with other agencies, we have been providing critical support covering health, water and sanitation, food and shelter for both those living in the refugee camps and their host communities.
The potential impact of coronavirus
Living in a refugee camp is already challenging at the best of times. Camps are overcrowded and lack proper hygiene which increases the potential for the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
Across the refugee camps, 80% of families report having at least one person with a serious illness requiring medical treatment.
In addition, 80% of families report having problems with their temporary shelters and only 67% report having soap.
The coronavirus pandemic compounds the situation and puts their lives at increased risk. The first case of Covid-19 in the camps was reported on 25 March 2020.
Our immediate response
In order to reduce the risk of transmission, operations in the camps have been reduced to the provision of essential services. All non-essential visits to the camps have been suspended – but our work continues.
Christian Aid has an office in Cox’s Bazaar and in Camp 15 with a large warehouse. We have a team of 25 experienced and skilled national staff working together with local NGO partners (Dustha Shasthya Kendra and Dhaka Ahsania Mission) to ensure we respond effectively, particularly in the areas of health and water and sanitation.
To prevent the spread of the virus we are:
- Raising awareness of the virus and sharing hygiene messages to people in the camps in their local Rohingya languages. We are doing the same with the host communities through community volunteers and religious leaders. We are also using posters and sharing messages using megaphones.
- Helping doctors in the camps receive training so they can treat infected people and train other doctors in health facilities.
- Conducting door-to-door handwashing training sessions.
Christian Aid expects to train 85-100 healthcare staff on infection, prevention and disease control. We're also ensuring healthcare staff are equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) and that handwashing stations are available at the entrances to 10 health facilities.
In addition, we will build additional handwashing stations throughout the camps, and distribute hygiene kits (containing antiseptic liquid and soap) to 50,000 people.
Love unites us all
It is at times like these – testing times – that we recognise we are all in this together. Coronavirus impacts all of us, but love unites us all.
We urgently need your help to support our response to the coronavirus pandemic. Please give what you can today.