Since August 2017, more than 727,000 people have arrived at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh from the Rakhine state in Myanmar. This adds to some 300,000 previous arrivals and makes it one of the world’s largest refugee camps. With the donation from DSV, Danish Red Cross and Bangladesh Red Crescent have been able to support thousands of people living in the camps.
The donations from DSV and other partners have enabled the Red Cross | Red Crescent to reach over 260,000 people with emergency relief including food, water and shelter over the past two years. They have also:
- Delivered more than 268,000 medical consultations through 11 health facilities
- Distributed some 60 million litres of safe drinking water
- Given long-term shelters to 8,300 families
- Delivered 100,500 blankets, 227,600 food parcels, 50,700 sleeping mats, 28,000 mosquito nets, among other things
However, there are still challenges among the people displaced by the violence in the Rakhine State in neighbouring Myanmar.
Too many people in one place
Tens of thousands of people are living in cramped tents and shelters in conditions that fall well below international standards.
The average space per person in the camps is 24 square metres, but falls to less than 10 square metres in the most densely populated parts of the camps. Minimum standards set by humanitarian organisations call for at least 30 square metres per person.
The densely populated camps raise the risk of disease outbreaks. The temporary nature of the shelters built on soft land leave the people in the camp vulnerable during the monsoon season and cyclones.
Syed Ali Nasim Khaliluzzaman, Head of Operation of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society in Cox’s Bazar, said:
“Space has been a challenge since the beginning of this response effort. In the emergency phase, our focus was on meeting basic needs and ensuring everyone had a roof over their heads. Now, we must come together to improve basic conditions at the camps, particularly for larger households. As this has become a protracted crisis, we are focusing on longer-term planning.”
The Red Crescent and partners such as Danish Red Cross are currently building new shelters that will meet the basic standards for space.
Helle Pedersen, Senior CSR Manager in DSV comments:
“There’s no doubt that the many refugees in Cox Bazar continue to need help and relief; their living conditions are less than optimal and they are still unable to return to their home. We have supported Red Cross’ efforts in Cox Bazar since the crisis intensified, and we have continued our support into 2019 because the refugees continue to need help. We feel very strongly that these people all deserve decent living conditions in their terrible situation, and we know that our donation to Red Cross’ activities in the camp make life for the refugees a little better every day”.
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