Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Burmese Refugees: In Limbo Rohingya refugees unable to feed their children or stay in shelter

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Rohingya refugees living near Kutupalong UNCR registered camp are finding it difficult to stay in their huts following heavy rainfall, said Nurul Alam, a refugee from Kutupalong.

The refugees, who are not recognized by any quarter, stay in huts made of brushes and leaves. Some have plastic sheets, which cannot withstand heavy rainfall. The refugees were unable to sit or stay inside the huts, when heavy rain fell on April 2 and 3, he added.

“The water falls into the huts. We have no money to make huts to stop the water from pouring in. Also we are not able to feed our kids,” said Rahardmat Ullah, the father of three children.

“When rains start at night, I keep a cartoon and on it one plastic sheet. My kids and my wife and I stay the whole night in wet clothes,” Rahardmat said.

The camp is situated in the lower part of a small hillside. When it rains, the water flows down to the huts where the refugees stay. They are unable to make their huts safe for their kids and family. The roofs of the huts are mostly bushes and branches. Some, who are able to buy or get hold of old plastics, make a roof out of them for their huts.

There are 4000 families living in the camp and we don’t know how many huts have plastic sheets. But, we see mostly bushes and branches of trees, said Hamid, a local resident of a nearby camp.

The monsoons are starting in Bangladesh. Things will worsen for the inmates of the camp, said Anwar, a refugee living in the camp and providing medical assistance to the people.

The refugee children mostly suffer from malnutrition and are afflicted by fever, malaria, odema, pneumonia and diarrhea because of their living condition in the camp. The poor Rohingya refugees have to cope with minimum health services that often lead to death among children in the camp, he added.

They are not recognized by either the UNHCR or the Bangladesh government. They don't get any help from any quarter for their survival. Most work as daily labourers and live in squalid conditions in the camp. So the parents of the children are not able to feed them properly. The children suffer from malnutrition.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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