"When we have this kind of sit­u­a­tion, there's a heavy pos­si­bil­ity of a cholera out­break."

Mizzima Business Weekly - - IN FOCUS -

Nearly 520,000 Ro­hingya Mus­lims have ar­rived in Bangladesh since late Au­gust, flee­ing a mil­i­tary crack­down in mainly Bud­dhist neigh­bour­ing Myan­mar that the UN has said likely amounts to eth­nic cleans­ing. Poor and over­pop­u­lated Bangladesh has strug­gled to cope with the mass in­flux of peo­ple, many of whom have to travel for days or even weeks to reach safety and ar­rive ex­hausted and mal­nour­ished. The in­flux had slowed in re­cent weeks, but now ap­pears to have picked up again and an es­ti­mated 11,000 new refugees ar­rived on Mon­day. The UN refugee agency said Tues­day it was work­ing with the Bangladesh au­thor­i­ties to set up a tran­sit cen­tre in prepa­ra­tion for a fresh in­flux from Myan­mar's Rakhine state. World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) work­ers and lo­cal vol­un­teers will vac­ci­nate 650,000 Ro­hingya over the com­ing weeks and then fol­low up with a sec­ond dose of the vac­cine for an es­ti­mated 250,000 chil­dren aged be­tween one and five. It the sec­ond big­gest such cam­paign ever, af­ter 800,000 peo­ple were im­mu­nised against the dis­ease in Haiti in Novem­ber. The WHO's Bangladesh rep­re­sen­ta­tive N Parani­etha­ran called it a "huge un­der­tak­ing" and said he was con­fi­dent an out­break would be averted. He said thou­sands of Bangladesh­is liv­ing near the refugee camps would also be vac­ci­nated. Cholera was a ma­jor killer in Bangladesh un­til in the 1970s, but the coun­try has seen ma­jor im­prove­ments in san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties since then.

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