More than 70 percent of the nearly 480,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh are without adequate shelter and half have no safe drinking water, Oxfam warned today.
Heavy rains and floods in camps have left people facing extreme hardship, and have slowed down the building of emergency shelters, clean water tanks and the delivery of aid.
Paolo Lubrano, Oxfam Bangladesh’s humanitarian coordinator, said: “It is truly terrible to see the level of need there is among people here. They are living in makeshift tents under heavy rains; tens of thousands 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 one torrential river, just to be confronted by insecurity and pouring rain.
“Women and children are particularly vulnerable, sleeping under open skies, roadsides and forest areas with little or no protection.”
A humanitarian flight carrying 15 tons of supplies left Oxfam’s warehouse on Friday. Materials include water pumps, material for construction of emergency latrines and water tanks. Two more humanitarian flights are planned with additional supplies.
Since August 25, nearly 480,000 Rohingya people have crossed over to Bangladesh’s Southeastern districts resulting in a massive humanitarian crisis. Of these it is estimated that over 340,000 have inadequate shelter and about 240,000 have no clean water.
Oxfam’s response has reached nearly 100,000 people 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 the government and humanitarian partners to ensure newly established camps will meet the necessary humanitarian standards.
Due to 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 are compromised, and measures must be taken to prevent any form of sexual violence.