UN moves to stop dis­ease at camps

North Bay Nugget - - WORLD NEWS - Rishabh r. Jain

THAINGKHALI, bangladesh — un agen­cies and bangladesh’s health min­istry be­gan a mas­sive cholera im­mu­niza­tion cam­paign tues­day to stem a pos­si­ble out­break of the wa­ter-borne dis­ease among more than a half mil­lion ro­hingya Mus­lims who have fled vi­o­lence in Myan­mar to neigh­bour­ing bangladesh.

no cases of the po­ten­tially lifethreat­en­ing di­ar­rheal dis­ease have yet ap­peared in makeshift camps in bangladesh.

UNICEF said the vac­ci­na­tion cam­paign in­volves 900,000 doses of the vac­cine de­liv­ered by more than 200 mo­bile teams, mak­ing it the sec­ond-largest oral vac­ci­na­tion cam­paign of its kind, after an­other in haiti last year. the cam­paign will also tar­get res­i­dents of older refugee camps that have ex­isted in bangladesh since the 1990s.

the World health Or­ga­ni­za­tion has tal­lied some 10,000 cases of di­ar­rhea among the refugees, and says un­hy­gienic and cramped con­di­tions raise the po­ten­tial for a cholera out­break.

“no­body wants an­other emer­gency within this ex­ist­ing emer­gency that we are fac­ing with the ro­hingya refugees here. Wher­ever there are refugee crises, there is al­ways this cri­sis of cholera out­break and so on, be­cause peo­ple live in a very crowded po­si­tion, there is scarcity of ser­vices like wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion, and ev­ery­thing,” said sakil Faizul­lah, a spokesman for UNICEF.

Waves of ro­hingya Mus­lims have crossed over to bangladesh since aug. 25, when se­cu­rity forces in bud­dhist-ma­jor­ity Myan­mar re­sponded to mil­i­tant at­tacks with a broad crack­down that the un has de­scribed as “text­book eth­nic cleans­ing.”

the un refugee agency says bangladeshi border guards re­ported that more than 11,000 ro­hingya crossed the border on Monday.

In the south­ern parts of bangladesh they have joined hun­dreds of thou­sands of ro­hingya who were al­ready liv­ing in mis­er­able con­di­tions in tightly packed camps. now with hun­dreds of thou­sands more peo­ple, the pres­sure on what lit­tle re­sources the old camps had is in­cred­i­ble.

en­tire new towns of shanties have sprung up across the area. clean wa­ter and toi­lets are a rar­ity and there are fears that di­ar­rheal dis­ease will spread.

Fred du­four/GETTy IMAGES

Ro­hingya refugees wait in line for food at the Thangkhali refugee camp in the Bangladeshi district of Ukhia on Tues­day.

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