World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

UN, partners building roads to reach Rohingya refugees

UN, partners building roads to reach Rohingya refugees camped in muddy, flood-prone terrain

10 November 2017 – The United Nations migration agency and its partners are rushing to build roads in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar to improve humanitarian access to hilly terrain, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have settled in makeshift camps.

The sites where the Rohingyas have settled are desperately overcrowded and located on inhospitable terrain with insufficient drainage and little or no road access, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday.

The few roads that exist are impossibly congested, making it extremely difficult to reach refugees with the support and services they need.

Since 25 August, an estimated 613,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Cox’s Bazar, fleeing violence in Myanmar. The total refugee population in the area is now over 826,000.

IOM is responsible for coordinating site management at a site now home to an estimated 423,000 refugees.

IOM officials said that people hike for hours under the scorching sun, often carrying heavy loads from distribution points, to reach their shelters. Steep hills and dangerous paths mean that children, the elderly and people with disabilities are often unable to move around the site.

In October, IOM built some 850 metres of road into Balukhali to enable humanitarian agencies to deliver lifesaving assistance to at least 50,000 refugees.

“The road has vastly improved access for both refugees and humanitarian actors,” said IOM Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Project Officer Stephen Waswa Otieno.

“Contractors can now deliver materials inside the site, which has allowed us to build new, essential infrastructure. For example, one of our partners has just built a new distribution centre, bringing aid much closer to the families who need it,” he notes.

IOM is currently working on six other projects, providing more access from main roads outside the sites, and inside the sites. It is also building five bridges, which will allow people and vehicles to cross canals and streams in different areas of the sites.

The agency is also working to mitigate the threat of landslides on the newly de-forested land where many of the shelters perch on steep hillsides.

IOM teams have been distributing bags that the refugees can fill with soil and use to create retaining walls and steps. These can also be used to raise shelters off mud floors, helping to keep them dry, especially when flash floods occur.

Immunizing new arrivals against measles
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are stepping up immunization efforts in overcrowded camps and makeshift shelters close to the border with Myanmar in response to an increase in the number of suspected measles cases among the newly arrived Rohingya and their host communities.

“Children are especially at risk from outbreaks of measles and other communicable diseases that result from the crowded living conditions, malnutrition and severe lack of water and sanitation in the camps and other sites,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Bangladesh Representative.

“To halt any wider outbreak, it’s essential that coordinated efforts begin immediately to protect as many children as possible.”

The UN agencies and its partners will administer measles and rubella vaccine to nearly 360,000 people in the age group of six months to 15 years among the new Rohingya arrivals in Cox’s Bazar and their host communities.

As of 4 November, one death and 412 suspected cases of measles have been reported among the vulnerable populations living in Cox’s Bazar.

“As part of stepped up vaccination efforts, 43 fixed health facility sites, 56 outreach vaccination teams and vaccination teams at main border entry points will administer MR vaccine to population aged six months to 15 years,” said WHO Representative to Bangladesh N Paranietharan.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>

ALSO:

Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>

ALSO:

Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>

ALSO:

Camp Shut Down: Refugees Must Be Rescued From Manus

On 31st October 2017, the detention centre on Manus Island in which the Australian Government has been holding more than 700 refugees was closed, leaving those living there in a desperate situation. More>>

ALSO:

EARLIER:

Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC