Plastic sheets to cover Rohingyas in open-air camps

Plastic sheets to cover Rohingyas in open-air camps

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Dhaka, Sept 30 – The United Nations refugee agency has announced that it has started distributing plastic sheeting and essential relief items to Rohingyas arriving in Bangladesh from Myanmar as part of a massive effort to cut the time refugees spend in the open.The latest estimate of the number of Rohingya who have arrived in Bangladesh since violence erupted in Myanmar has crossed the half-million mark,” Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters at regular press briefing in Geneva on Friday.
The plastic sheets for cover, however, would help the refugees protect from rain, not sun heat because the plastic cover of make-do shanties would make heat to collect inside those. They have nothing to lie on, rest or sleep. Hardly do they have safe water to drink and sanitation for hygienic stay at the still open-air camps.
“Giving the newly arrived refugees the ability to construct their own shelter, begin cooking for themselves and taking care of their families is an important first step on the road to healing,” he added.
The 2,000-acres (809 hectares) extension site on the outskirts of Kutupalong Camp in southeast Bangladesh is becoming more organised, turning into a series of communities as UNHCR and its partners supporting the Bangladesh government deliver more emergency relief items.
From its $4.2 million budget, UNHCR is contributing $2 million to support Bangladesh in constructing a road for easier aid delivery into Kutupalong extension site and shipping in 23 vehicles to assist aid efforts.
UNHCR nutrition experts estimate that approximately 18 percent of new arrivals suffer from acute malnutrition, according to the UN News Centre.
“This is due to more than lack of food,” said Mahecic.
“We witness the dire need for psycho-social support and counselling among refugees,” he said, adding that many breastfeeding mothers are “severely traumatised, sick and malnourished.”
UNHCR is working with its partner Action Against Hunger to provide warm meals as private donors conduct ad hoc food distributions, which is also becoming more structured.
“As Bangladesh shoulders the full extent of this refugee crisis, UNHCR calls on all countries in the region to show solidarity and do their part in keeping their borders open and protecting refugees who are fleeing discrimination, persecution and violence in Myanmar,” concluded Mahecic. – UNB

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