Cox’s Bazar – Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan today (23/10) urged the world to pay more attention to the crisis unfolding on the southern border of Bangladesh as she visited IOM’s Kutupalong Extension Primary Health Care Centre in one of the newly formed makeshift settlements for the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar.
Shocked by the limitations of basic services to health care and other lifesaving support, Queen Rania said, “It is unforgivable that this crisis is unfolding, largely ignored by the international community. The world response has been muted. I urge the UN and the international community to do more to ensure we can bring peace to this conflict.”
She also talked about the tangible hardship and suffering of the Rohingya refugees, 60 per cent of whom are children who need targeted support.
At the clinic, she observed the breadth of services available to the newly arrived Rohingya refugees, the majority of whom are women and children. The clinic has carried out 3,675 primary healthcare consultations since the influx started on the 25th August, and has the capacity to provide 8,000 consultations per month to the Rohingya.
Dr Quamrul Hassan, who runs the clinic, says that he is particularly worried by acute watery diarrhoea, acute respiratory tract infections symptoms and emergency obstetric complications, amongst the population who come seeking support.
IOM is working closely with the World Health Organisation to coordinate health response planning. A revised emergency health sector response plan for the next 6 months has been created to address short- and medium-term plans for addressing the acute health needs of the population.
IOM medical teams have provided a total of 47,764 clinical consultations since August 25. A total of 3,285 women received pregnancy-related care, including 2,438 antenatal care, 504 postnatal care, and 343 deliveries, in September.
A cholera vaccination campaign led by the Ministry of Health and WHO, supported by agencies including IOM, reached a total of 700,487 people by 19 October.
IOM provides health care services to over 1,300 people each day. Delivery facilities and a patient stabilization unit have been activated in IOM Primary Health Care Clinic in Kutupalong, Ukhiya, where 24-hour services have been launched.
IOM has also scaled up services in its existing 12 health facilities, including the provision of 24-hour services in Leda Health Clinic, Shamlapur and in 2 Upazilia Health Complexes, where IOM provides support to government health facilities.
Some 800,000 Rohingyas are now living in the settlements, 603,000 of whom have arrived since August 25th. Of these about 51 per cent are women and girls, of whom 15 per cent are lactating or pregnant, 58 per cent are children between new born to 17 years old, with many child led households.
The numbers spiked again in the past week when over 18,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh, according to the IOM-hosted Inter Sector Coordination Group.
Almost all new arrivals require health assistance.
The great majority (around 72 per cent) of new arrivals are living in a large makeshift settlement in a congested area in Ukhia unofficially called the Kutupalong mega camp, which has become a surging sea of humanity.
Most families have nothing. The lucky ones managed to bring some clothes, pots and pans, the odd water carrier. IOM and other partner agencies are racing against the incoming tide of new settlers to try to ensure organization within the camp, and to distribute basic items including shelter kits and kitchen sets to allow families to settle in and look after their basic needs.
Only 27 per cent of the sites are accessible by a vehicle of any kind, making aid delivery difficult and access to existing health services hard.
Many have been subjected to extreme violence and sexual assault. Children have witnessed their parents’ deaths and are now left to fend for their even younger siblings. Outreach must be strengthened to identify and meet their special needs.
Lifesaving services delivered by IOM and its partner agencies include clean water and sanitation, shelter, food security, healthcare, education and psychosocial support for the most vulnerable individuals, many of whom are suffering from acute mental trauma or are survivors of sexual violence.
Meanwhile, a pledging conference for the crisis organized by IOM, UNOCHA and UNHCR, and co-hosted by the European Union and Kuwait, takes place in Geneva today (23/10). The conference will provide governments from around the world an opportunity to show their solidarity and share the burden and responsibility for the Rohingya refugees.
Earlier this month, the UN launched a Joint Response Plan, in order to sustain and enhance the large humanitarian effort already under way. The plan requires USD 434 million to meet the life-saving needs of all Rohingya refugees and their host communities – together an estimated 1.2 million people – for the difficult months to come.