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Teknaf — In a long absence of NGOs responsible for cleaning services at the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, the drains full of wastes, overflowing toilet tanks and overloaded dustbins have polluted the entire environment until the drain worms are crawling up to the homes, according to a refugee from Nayapara camp.

“Because of the maggots, we even can’t eat food. Our children are about to die. No NGO is come here to clean. We have no other place to throw the rubbishes. So, the maggots are crawling out of the drains to our homes. How our children will survive?” the man told RVision.

Fearing any potential outbreak of diseases due to the excessive pollution, the man added, “Before the so-called new disease (Covid-19), the drain disease is about to kill us. For weeks, we have not seen the BRAC, who is responsible for the tasks.”

Normally the camps have been suffering regularly from shortage of basic water, poor sanitation, lack of hygiene system, substandard healthcare and inadequate access to other essential services.

In addition, the current situation has put them at high risk of a major disease outbreak.

Basic water crisis is also going parallel with this situation. “While we are encouraged to practice a good hygiene and to wash hand frequently, we have no enough water for basic use.” a refugee woman told, adding, “After queueing up for hours, we can fill a pot of water. We are a family of about eight members and have to survive on 2-3 pots of water a day. This is also not clean.”

Ro Hla Bai, a refugee from Camp 15 writes, “SEE! how we, Rohingya are suffering with water! We have no enough water in the CAMP of 15. We just get 3 or 4 pots water in a day. It is totally not enough. Now authorities, Doctors ang NGOs are telling us to wash hands frequently with fresh water and soap but we haven’t water for drink. So, where will we get water for washing hands frequently?”

Empty water posts for refugees queuing up to fill water. Photo: Ro Hla Bai

Refugees are complaining about substandard healthcare and neglect in hospitals. They said they are mostly given Paracetamol and Amoxicillin for any illness by the local clinics and they are reluctantly or rarely seen. If they are referred to Cox’s Bazar, they said they are neglected and given prescriptions that they can’t afford.

Refugees in many face starvations as the NOGs are absent for a long time and their rations have run out. “I am given 770 taka per month – 400 for rice and the rest for other needs. Currently, no NGOs are seen around and the hunger may kill us before the Coronavirus,” says Jamil Ahmed.

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