The crisis explained
More than 500,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh from Rakhine State in Myanmar following an escalation in violence on 25 August. The most recent wave of Rohingya refugees has added to the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who fled across the border in previous years. Most of the newly arrived refugees have moved into makeshift settlements without adequate access to shelter, food, clean water, latrines or healthcare. MSF teams have scaled up activities in response to the influx.
"I fled with my whole family, but my son was shot while running away. I brought him to the hospital here in Bangladesh, but left the other family members in the forest in Myanmar, just hiding there. I haven't heard from them for days now. I don't know what to do, I feel so desperate."
Many of those arriving are presenting with serious medical needs, such as violence-related injuries, severely infected wounds and advanced obstetric complications. But conditions in the existing makeshift settlements and camps put people at great risk. With vaccination levels low, there is a danger that infections may spread. Much work is also needed to tackle malnutrition among the Rohingyas already in Bangladesh, as well as those remaining in Rakhine state.
For more updates:
Rohingyas in Bangladesh: Immediate action needed to advert massive public health disaster
Myanmar - Bangladesh: International humanitarian access must be permitted
MSF Scales Up its Response.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are already on the ground in Bangladesh where we are scaling up our operations. We have brought in additional nurses, midwives and doctors to provide humanitarian assistance and medical care to some of the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing horrendous violence in Myanmar.
"We've not had something on this scale here in many years. People that are arriving are traumatized and have no access to medical care. Many of the arrivals have serious medical needs. Without a scale-up of humanitarian support, the health risks are extremely concerning."
Pavlo Kolovos, MSF Head of Mission in Bangladesh
MSF has set up additional inpatient wards while also supporting the increase of referrals to other hospitals. MSF is also supplying mobile medical care, providing round-the-clock ambulances as well as dispatching two new mobile medical teams to assess medical needs and treat the injured. MSF needs your help to continue to provide medical care to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
However, medical facilities, including MSF’s own clinics, are completely overwhelmed. Between 25 August and 17 September, MSF clinics received a total of 9,602 outpatients, 3,344 emergency room patients, 427 inpatients, 225 patients with violence-related injuries, and 23 cases of sexual violence.
There is a very high risk of an infectious disease outbreak in the area given the huge and rapid increase in the population, as well as the known low vaccination coverage among the Rohingya community in Myanmar.
Comprehensive vaccination campaigns for measles and cholera need to be launched immediately to reduce the outbreak risk and protect the Rohingya and Bangladeshi populations.
In anticipation, MSF has prepared an isolation unit in the Kutupalong medical facility to rapidly contain any suspected or identified cholera or measles cases.