Living in crowded and cramped conditions, Rohingya refugees sheltering in Bangladesh are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. On August 10, 2021, amid a worrying spike in infections, the Government of Bangladesh launched the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign for refugees over 55 years of age in Kutupalong Refugee Camp. As the first line of health care, volunteers supported by Community Partners International (CPI) and local partner Green Hill mobilized to encourage and support eligible community members in Camps 1W and 4 to take up the vaccine.
Since late July, heavy rains in Kutupalong Refugee Camp, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, have caused widespread flooding and landslides, damaging shelters and facilities, and displacing and affecting thousands of people. Rohingya volunteers supported by Community Partners International have been at the forefront of efforts to help those affected.
"I feel that I am doing an important job for my community. No matter how hard it is, somebody has to do it. In this case, it’s me." Tofayel, Rohingya health volunteer
As Bangladesh experiences a spike in COVID-19 cases, there is rising concern for the 700,000+ Rohingya refugees from Myanmar sheltering in Kutupalong Camp, Cox’s Bazar District. Cramped living conditions and limited access to health services make them especially vulnerable. Community Partners International (CPI) and local partner Green Hill are supporting Rohingya volunteers to trace contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases and help to contain the spread of the virus within the refugee community.
In the Bangladeshi community of Doria Nagar, Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh, families survive on daily wage labor incomes of just US$2-3 per day. Each month, as much as 20% of their income is spent on fuel for cooking - either firewood or liquid petroleum gas (LPG). In late June, Community Partners International (CPI) and Green Hill installed a biogas plant in the community as a pilot project to convert kitchen and latrine waste into free methane gas for cooking.
When seven-year-old Samiyun first started to attend the Chakar Mobile School, he struggled to adapt. Growing up in Dhaka’s slums, he had never had the opportunity to enroll in formal school. Instead, while his parents were out at work, he spent his days running the streets of his neighborhood with older children. His mother, a garment worker, and his father, a day laborer, work long hours with few days off. As they struggle to put food on the table, they don't have much time to devote to Samiyun and his younger sister.
“This partnership improves the hospital’s ability to provide comprehensive emergency care for vulnerable patients.” Dr. Md. Mahbubur Rahman, Cox's Bazar Civil Surgeon
As Bangladesh and South Asia experience spikes in COVID-19 cases, Community Partners International (CPI) and Green Hill have mobilized to help Sadar Hospital in Cox’s Bazar cope with a rise in patients needing care.
"I didn’t understand what a vaccine was. I just heard that they can leave permanent marks on the skin and cause fever." Tasmin, 24, pregnant mother of two children
Tasmin’s perception of vaccines is fairly common among her fellow Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong, Bangladesh, the world’s largest refugee camp. With limited access to accurate health information, misunderstandings and false rumors can travel rapidly within the community.
Mohammad Taher is a Rohingya Community Immunization Volunteer supported by Green Hill/Community Partners International (CPI) in the world's largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. Each day, he visits households in his neighborhood to help pregnant and women and young children get vaccinated against deadly diseases.
Noor Bahar’s family was killed during the violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State in 2017. The only survivor, she fled across the border to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where she now lives as a refugee in Kutupalong Refugee Camp. With no family members to help her, she relies on the support of community volunteers in her neighborhood. As an asthma sufferer, she has to take care of her health, especially with the threat of COVID-19.
One evening in March, Noor suffered an acute asthma attack in her shelter. A passerby saw her struggling to breathe and alerted Zainul Mostofa, a Rohingya Community Health Volunteer supported by Community Partners International (CPI).
By the time the fire in Kutupalong Refugee camp was brought under control in the early hours of Tuesday, March 23, the devastation was hard to fathom. In just a few hours, it destroyed more than 10,000 shelters and displaced 50,000 people, half of whom are children. At least 11 people lost their lives, including three children. More than 500 people were injured, and at least 400 remain missing. An estimated 1,600 community facilities including hospitals, distribution points, and learning centers were lost in the fire.