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CARE Fears for Safety of Rohingya Refugees in Lockdown as Cyclone Yaas Looms

A health worker wearing personal protective equipment in the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, last month. On Thursday, Bangladesh reported the area's first confirmed coronavirus infections. Shafiqur Rahman/AP

The following statement should be attributed to Ram Das, CARE Bangladesh Deputy Country Director:

CARE is concerned for the safety and well being of thousands of Rohingya refugees who are in the middle of a strict week-long lock down after an alarming spread of COVID cases was detected in recent days. Social distancing is incredibly difficult in the camps as refugees share water, sanitation and other facilities and live in close proximity to one another. We fear that any new COVID cases could spread very quickly. And now with the beginning of monsoon season, Cyclone Yaas is expected to make landfall in neighboring India and generate heavy rain and strong winds around Cox’s Bazar, where almost one million Rohingya refugees live in flimsy shelters perched precariously on exposed hills. The current spike in COVID cases and the imminent cyclone are cause for great concern.

Although just five of the 34 camps are formally in lock down, generally access to all camps is being regulated to help prevent the spread of COVID. Aid agencies need better access to the camps immediately to distribute shelter tie down kits, other essentials such as hygiene and sanitation items and to coordinate with local Disaster Management Unit volunteers and government officials to support any evacuation efforts.

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Rachel Kent
Senior Press Officer

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