What you need to know
646,000 people have arrived since 25 August
10,000 crossed the border in the past week
1.2 million require immediate humanitarian assistance, including earlier arriving Myanmar nationals and vulnerable members of host communities
According to the Inter sector coordination group (ISCG) report, as of 7 December, 646,000 forcibly-displaced Myanmar nationals (FDMN) have crossed into Bangladesh from the Rakhaine State. The increase in the number of refugees (626,000 FDMN as of 2 December) is not as a result of a significant influx of refugees across the border, but instead due to strengthened assessments.
Due to a depression in the Bay, Cox’s Bazar has been experiencing moderate to heavy rain since last Friday, causing immense sufferings in camps and settlements. The rain is only compounding the serious public health risks caused by lack of services and extremely poor living conditions in the settlements, exacerbating the risk of disease outbreaks, particularly in densely populated areas.
Along with that, diphtheria is spreading rapidly among the FDMN communities, where 110 suspected cases including 6 deaths, have been reported by a WHO press release. This number is expected to increase over the next few days, as these cases have been remarked to be only the ‘tip of the iceberg’.
To combat this, mass vaccination campaign is underway to stop diphtheria from spreading further. But there is a lack of knowledge and experience among the health service providers, given Diphtheria was eliminated from Bangladesh decades ago.
The cold waves at night coupled with rainfall has increased the need for warm clothing and blankets. FDMN community has started to budget their use of collected firewood as leftovers are being used to keep themselves warm at night. As dirt roads have turned to mud, navigating within settlements has become more difficult, hindering access to aid and other service nodes for the FDMN community.