Cover photo: Antonio Faccilongo/MSF
WHO WILL HELP THE ROHINGYA?
By Carolyn Oei, 15 November 2017
We are all broken. But the only reason why the world hasn’t imploded is that, miraculously, some people are less broken than others.
The Rohingya, an ethnic minority that lives primarily in Rakhine State on the West coast of Myanmar, have suffered persecution for generations. The severity of the persecution gained more international visibility in 2013 but things don’t seem to have improved since.
Politics aside, humanitarian groups – big and small – are doing what they can to help the countless Rohingya refugees who have fled across the border to Bangladesh. According to information provided by international humanitarian medical aid organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), more than half a million people have fled to Bangladesh since 25 August this year.
Matching the influx of people crossing over the border from Myanmar since that date, MSF has treated more than 30,000 patients in the Cox’s Bazar area, effectively five times the number of people who sought treatment at MSF facilities during the same period last year. Most of these patients have respiratory tract infections and diarrheal diseases: directly related to the poor hygiene conditions in the informal settlements.
Below is an account written by Dr Konstantin Hanke who was Medical Activities Manager at the MSF medical facility in Kutupalong, Bangladesh. Hanke worked in Kutupalong from early January until 2 October:
“I joined MSF’s Bangladesh mission in January, when Rohingya refugees were still fleeing the last outbreak of violence in Rakhine State that started in October 2016. The clinic was consistently busy, with around 350 patients a day in the outpatient department and around 200 admitted patients a month. The population had run out of money and their health deteriorated. We saw more and more severe malnutrition, particularly in children under five years old. At one point we had 20 patients a day with severe measles in our isolation tent."
Photos: Antonio Faccilongo/MSF