In mid-May, category 5 super Cyclonic Storm Amphan caused widespread damage in Eastern India and Bangladesh. With wind speeds as high as 150 mph, the powerful storm wreaked havoc on power lines, upended infrastructure, and killed at least 85 people.
With tens of thousands of homes destroyed, millions of people were left with no choice but to crowd together in temporary shelters. Officials feared that there would be a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases, especially in Cox’s Bazaar, the world’s largest refugee camp.
Rohingya refugee camp update
Heavy rainfall and high winds from Cyclone Amphan have worsened living conditions in Cox’s Bazaar with reports of flooding and mudslides. With roads destroyed, accessibility to the Rohingya people has become more limited. The need for medical supplies and sanitation kits has never been greater, however, with damaged roads and collapsed bridges, getting aid to people is growing more and more difficult.
“We anticipate a second disaster unfolding, compounding challenges for millions of people,” explains Sudarshan Reddy Kodooru, Tearfund’s Country Director for Bangladesh. “People in the camps were already living in overcrowded conditions, making social distancing impossible. If more homes are damaged, life will become increasingly precarious for people who have already suffered far too much.”
Coronavirus relief response
Tearfund is partnering with One Day’s Wages to help 10,000 Rohingya refugees in the most vulnerable communities stay one step ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak. Our work will focus on awareness-raising and coronavirus prevention by:
- Sharing life-saving health information about social distancing, handwashing, and other prevention methods
- Distributing sanitation kits with soap, masks, and bleaching powder
- Providing emergency food and nutrition assistance for the most vulnerable
Tearfund is working to meet the needs of the most vulnerable during this health emergency, such as people with disabilities, women-headed households, ethnic minorities, transgender individuals, day laborers, and people who rely on others for their basic needs.