June 2016. Kutupalong refugee camp in southern Bangladesh. Monsoon season. The ground is muddy and slippery. Saiful, 7, steps cautiously along the path to school. “I’m afraid of falling with my artificial leg,” he admits, surrounded by his school friends.
The teacher greets them and class begins.
Saiful’s parents are Rohingyas, a Muslim minority living in the west of Rakhine State in Myanmar. Many have fled the country after being subjected to racial discrimination by ethnic Rakhine population. According to Noor Nahar, Saiful’s mother: “They took our land in Myanmar by force. Saiful’s grandfather was a cultivated man, a politician, and he was thrown into prison, so we had to sell our last remaining land to buy his freedom. We had to do a lot of forced labour – construction, work in the fields – and the police demanded money and chickens every week, otherwise they tortured us. One day my husband was seriously injured by Rakhine population. He wasn’t allow to seek treatment. We had no choice but to flee the country.” Noor Nahar and her husband, Mohammed Alom, left Myanmar, like hundreds of thousands of other persecuted Rohingyas, who are now stateless.
In a community susceptible to high health risks due to distance to existing healthcare facilities and lack of available services at night, IOM is working with BPRM, ECHO, and SIDA to contribute to improving health conditions in Leda, home to over 15,000 Undocumented Myanmar Nationals and 8,000 host community members.
As recently as September 2016, the 15,000 Undocumented Myanmar Nationals (UMNs) and the 8,000 host community members (HCs) that live in the Leda village of Teknaf Upazila in Cox’s Bazar could only go to the Leda Community Clinic (LCC) to receive healthcare services. This was twice the caseload the LCC was used to treating daily – increasing from 50 to over 100 with 40% of the patients UMNs – affecting the services provided and the quality of care.
A needs assessment carried out in 2015 identified that the distance to the LCC and lack of available services at night were among the key barriers for people in the area to access adequate healthcare services. (more…)
Working together to provide Cyclone Roanu-hit Communities in Bangladesh with Safe Water and Improved Sanitation
As recently as 2015, access to sufficient clean water for daily life was lacking in Shamlapur and surrounding villages of Teknaf Upazila (sub-district) in Cox’s Bazar, a southern coastal district in Bangladesh by the Bay of Bengal. Chakma Para was one such village, where the inhabitants of over 200 households survived on jhum cultivation and gathered wood for fuel. The practice of visiting latrines in bare feet was commonplace, as was waterborne diseases.
“Water crisis in our village was so acute that my husband, son, and I bathed once every four-five days during the dry season” shared Sukku Mala, 25. “It was far worse for the larger families. There was no fixed water point other than some earth wells that dried up during the dry season. Finding earthworms or even frogs in the collected water didn’t surprise us anymore” she added!