At least 70 per cent of the more than 480,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh do not have adequate shelter and half have no safe drinking water, Oxfam warned today.
Heavy rains and floods in the camps have left people facing extreme hardship, slowed down the building of emergency shelters and clean water tanks, and disrupted the delivery of aid.
Paolo Lubrano, Oxfam Bangladesh’s Humanitarian Coordinator, said conditions were extremely poor.
“It is truly terrible to see the level of need there is among people here,” Mr Lubrano said.
“People are living in makeshift shelters under heavy rain. Tens of thousands of people don’t have food or clean water. If they are very lucky, they have some plastic sheeting to take shelter under – but most of the time families are huddled under sarongs. These people urgently need help.
“Most camps are flooded, including Katupalong and Balukhali where Oxfam works. For people forced to flee this is absolutely devastating – they have crossed a torrential river, just to be confronted by insecurity and pouring rain.
“Women and children are particularly vulnerable, sleeping under open skies, on roadsides and in forest areas with little or no protection.”
A humanitarian flight carrying 15 tonnes of supplies left Oxfam’s warehouse in the United Kingdom on Friday. Materials include water pumps, material for construction of emergency toilets and water tanks. Two more humanitarian flights are planned with additional supplies.
Since August 25, more than 480,000 Rohingya people have crossed over to Bangladesh’s south-eastern districts, resulting in a massive humanitarian crisis. It is estimated that over 300,000 people have inadequate shelter and about 210,000 have no clean water.
Oxfam’s response has reached nearly 100,000 people so far with clean drinking water, emergency toilets, water pumps and food rations. Oxfam is planning to help more than 200,000 people during the first phase of its response. Oxfam is also supporting government and humanitarian partners to ensure newly established camps will meet humanitarian standards.
Because of the volatile and chaotic situation, Oxfam is concerned about abuse and exploitation of women and girls. Privacy, health and hygiene for women, girls and nursing mothers is compromised and measures must be taken to prevent any form of sexual violence.
Oxfam Australia has launched the Bangladesh Rohingya Crisis Appeal and is calling for Australians to donate to help support its emergency response in Bangladesh.
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Notes to editors
Bangladesh has hosted 400,000 Rohingyas since the 1990s. The continuing influx has doubled the number of refugees in the South-Eastern Districts of Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban districts.
Photos of conditions in the camps are available at: https://wordsandpictures.oxfam.org.uk/?c=34140&k=ef065a5db7