Exhausted, bereft, and in urgent need of medical treatment, thousands of Rohingya are slowly getting the help they need. But Bangladesh medics are struggling to cope with the Rohingya influx.
Bangladesh has been overwhelmed by Rohingya Muslims since violence erupted in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar’s Rakhine state on August 25. The UN said on Saturday that the total number of people to have fled to Bangladesh had now reached 409,000, a leap of 18,000 a day. The influx of Rohingya has overwhelmed local Bangladesh administrations and aid agencies, with two camps run by the UNHCR at Kutupalong and Nayapara sheltering more than double their capacity of 34,000. Chris Lom, spokesperson of International Organisation for Migration (IOM) stated that “These are the people in a most desperate situation because not only they do not have enough food, but also clean water or latrines. So you have a very, very high-risk situation, particularly for children. If they drink dirty water they will get diarrhoea and if they are malnourished they will die.”
Dr Mohsin Uddin Ahmed from the Bangladesh Red Crescent said, “We see more than 200 patients daily, mostly women and children. We need more medicines to cope with the rising number of patients.” Ahmed also stressed the need for counselling for patients suffering from anxiety disorders. Dr Mohammad Hossain tended to more than 50 injured Rohingya in two hours at Sadar Hospital. Another 40 waited their turn at a nearby mosque in Daylpara village. Dr Hossain, who leads a team of 32, is one of the few medics that have stepped forward to help the Rohingya community who have fled to Bangladesh over the past three weeks. “I took leave from my hospital and came here to help Rohingya, who desperately need medical aid.”
The influx is unprecedented with many doing their best to provide assistance, but much more needs to be done to help the Rohingya. Aid agencies have emphasised the need for safe water, vaccinations, access to healthcare and sanitation. Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh, departed for New York City on Saturday to plead for international help and demand more pressure on Myanmar during talks at the UN General Assembly on Thursday. The international community must come together to provide the basic necessities and put pressure on Myanmar for the repatriation of all Rohingya refugees.