25 October 2017
Entering October 2017, flooding, which was started in June 2017, in northern part of Bangladesh has eased. However, in the southern part of the country, the influx of people from Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar and its neighboring districts continues escalating. Since 25 August 2017, more than 603,000 people have crossed the border into Bangladesh, Among the new arrivals, women and children are the majority. Most of them are taking shelter in makeshift settlements in dire conditions and almost entirely dependent on humanitarian aid for survival. The population movement has created a critical and complex humanitarian emergency, which is likely to become a protracted crisis.
Naimullah and his family arrived in Bangladesh and set up a makeshift shelter in Cox’s Bazar District. (Photo Credit: IFRC)
Like many displaced persons from Rakhine State of Myanmar, Naimullah and his family have travelled with very few possessions and encountered a lot of difficulties while they were walking towards the Myanmar-Bangladesh border. Naimullah carried a gun-shot wound on his arm without any treatment for weeks before he finally arrived at Hakimpara Camp, Cox’s Bazar and was attended by the Red Cross Red and Crescent mobile medical team. “Before reaching the clinic, I was suffering a lot, especially at night because of the pain,” said Naimullah.
Apart from medical and healthcare services, the displaced people are also in urge needs for essential items and services including food, water, sanitation and shelter. Currently, there are more than 730,000 displaced persons from Rakhine State, Myanmar, in the southern part of Bangladesh. Basic services are under severe strain. Many of the new arrivals have settled in areas with no pre-existing infrastructure or services and are extremely vulnerable, including to the risks of disease outbreak and the looming cyclone season.
The Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) launched an emergency appeal on 22 September to support the relief operations in Bangladesh and Myanmar. As of 20 October, approximately HK$600,000 has been received from the generous Hong Kong public. Donation Channels are:
The HKRC has allocated HKD 4.4 million in support of the emergency operations of the International Red Cross in Bangladesh and Myanmar, including a grant of HKD 2.674 million from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Disaster Relief Fund to support the distribution of emergency shelter materials for 2,000 flood-affected families in Bangladesh.
Since August 2017, the HKRC has deployed three staff members to coordinate the relief and psycho-social support services of the International Red Cross in Bangladesh, and a total of 3 healthcare volunteers to join the Red Cross and Red Crescent mobile medical team for provision of medical and healthcare service in the camps of Cox’s Bazar.
The HKRC is also providing emergency tracing service for people in Hong Kong who are looking for missing family members in Bangladesh and Myanmar, details can be found on our “Emergency Tracing Service” webpage.
Red Cross and Red Crescent Actions
In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) is working with the International Red Cross to provide humanitarian services for people affected by cyclones, floods and violence. Almost 1,400 volunteers and staff have been mobilized to support the emergency operations, including:
- Distribution of food, water and purification tablets to over 652,000 person-times;
- Distribution of blankets, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, jerry cans and cooking utensils to 290,000 person-times;
- Distribution of tarpaulins, shelter tool kits and ropes to more than 120,000 people for setting up emergency shelters;
- Provision of emergency cash grant to more than 2,900 families;
- Setting-up of 500 latrines and 300 water supply units to improve water supply and sanitation in the affected communities;
- Provision of medical services to over 25,000 person-times through field hospital, mobile medical teams and local healthcare centers;
- 2,160 people resumed contacts with their family members through “Restoring Family Links” services.
The International Red Cross has launched emergency appeals globally, seeking for HKD 400 million in total, to support the emergency operations in Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are among the very few humanitarian organizations working on both side of the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, in response to multiple humanitarian needs concurrently. Apart from the emergency operations in Bangladesh, the Red Cross is working in Rakhine State of Myanmar and have supported over 92,000 person-times with food, water, tarpaulins, shelter tool kits and sanitation facilities.
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HKRC deployed our Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Eliza Cheung, to Cox’s Bazar of Bangladesh to support the psycho-social support service in the camps hosting the people from Myanmar.
HKRC volunteer nurse Mr. Walter Leung is working in the Red Cross and Red Crescent mobile clinic in the camps hosting displaced persons from Rakhine State, Myanmar.