May 18, 2020

Farah Kabir, Country Director at ActionAid Bangladesh, is available for interviews about the risk to Cox’s Bazar Rohingya refugee camp following two confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Farah says: “There is a very real risk that the virus could now spread like wildfire. People are living in incredibly close proximity and many could have been exposed. Every morning I wake up hoping that no cases have been confirmed because of how devastating the impact could be. This is heart-breaking news.

“Typically there are five to seven people living in one 10ft x 15ft shelter made out of bamboo and tarpaulin so social distancing is incredibly difficult. The Rohingya refugees are particularly vulnerable because their nutrition and health has been very poor after fleeing persecution, and now they are living in a very congested space with limited access to clean water. The risks are tremendous.

“Both the Rohingya people and the host community in Cox’s Bazar town are very scared and worried because it’s difficult for them to access correct information. On top of this, the health facilities in Bangladesh are not adequate to deal with the virus – they are currently being pulled in every possible direction during this pandemic.

“It is now critical that ActionAid can continue to work with local women to produce masks for the refugees and share life-saving advice about hygiene measures to prevent the virus spreading. We need to mobilize quickly to help make isolation possible and provide vital medical and health support.”