Dr. Joe Thomas (from left nine) with the adolescent girls at UNICEF Child Friendly Space of Refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar
Dr. Joe Thomas, Executive Director of Partners in Population and Development (PPD) visited Cox’s Bazar to study the Rohingya refugee situation, an unprecedented level population displacement with significant social, economic and cultural consequence. According to IOM, since 25 August 2017, an estimated 607,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, increasing the total Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar to 802,000.
He visited Kutupalong- Balukhali refugee camps where approximately 426,600 Rohingya refugees (ISCD data) are living with minimum emergency support. In the camp he visited UNICEF’s Child Learning Centre, Outpatient Therapeutic Centre (OTP) and child friendly space (CFS). He also visited WFP emergency food distribution program, IOM emergency HUB and observed different level of support in ground.
“What we are witnessing is an extreme high-level of human deprivation, massive needs of various social support requirements. Bangladesh government’s generosity in accepting Rohinga refugees is commendable. There is a large cohort of adolescent and young people in the camp, but useful social arrangement of these young adolescent is very minimal. Investing for demographic dividend for adolescent and young people should be part of the response to the refugee population.” He commented. ‘A comprehensive sexual and reproductive health strategy should be part of the midterm response to the refugees’, he added
Every day new refugees are coming from Mayanmar to cox’s Bazar, they are living in spontaneous settlements with increasing need of humanitarian assistance, including shelter, food, clean water, and sanitation. Despite of many support significant challenges remain in the camp including the lack of impatient service treatment to women and children. After addressing the urgent and immediate needs to the refugees, the medium to long-term needs will be require soon, that preparation should be started immediately.
Life at the Refugee camps, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
PPD’s 14th International Inter-Ministerial Conference (IIMC) will be held in Jogjakarta, Indonesia from 28 to 29 November 2017, with the theme of the conference is “Sustainable cities, human mobility and international migration: A South-South Perspective and intervention needs”. PPD is a unique platform for south-south cooperation in the field of reproductive health, population and development. During the conference it is expected that Rohingya population movement will be discussed. Dr. Thomas will share his experience with the ministers, senior government officials, health and development professionals, and UN agencies, International Organizations and NGOs and Academicians from 26 PPD member countries.
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