Tearfund, the Christian relief and development agency, is extremely concerned at reports of the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh.
Sudarshan Reddy Kodooru, Tearfund’s Country Director in Bangladesh says:
“A case of coronavirus in the Rohingya camps is the news Tearfund has been dreading - but we are not without hope. Tearfund and its partners in Cox’s Bazar have been racing against time to prepare people in the camps, by teaching good hand washing, sanitation and hygiene. This is their best defence in a place where social distancing is extremely difficult.
“The vital work Tearfund is doing to increase the number of hand pumps and sanitation facilities is more important than ever, as is the work persuading people to use them.
“Tuesday’s fire in Kutupalong camp showed how a small spark quickly spread through hundreds of homes. Just imagine the devastation this virus could cause in one of the most densely populated places on earth.”
Tearfund is carrying out the vital work of distributing hygiene kits, handpumps and water and sanitation facilities, but getting access to the camps is likely to become even harder as the country’s lockdown is extended.
Tearfund’s local partners have also carried out desludging in 2613 households and are regularly cleaning out drains in the camps as part of the response to the threat of COVID-19. They have also distributed food to those in quarantine and hundreds of thousands of leaflets in Rohingya language to raise awareness on hand washing, social distancing and symptoms of COVID-19.
There are up to 70,000 people per square kilometer, compared with about 1,116 people per square kilometer in Bangladesh as a whole.*
Tearfund is responding to the coronavirus pandemic around the world by providing crucial hygiene and sanitation assistance to minimise the risk of infection. To find out more please visit www.tearfund.org/covidinfo.
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Notes to editors:
Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency and a member of the Disasters’ Emergency Committee. Tearfund has been working around the world for more than 50 years responding to disasters and helping lift communities out of poverty. For more information about the work of Tearfund, please visit www.tearfund.org.