What is the Rohingya refugee crisis?
The Rohingya people are one of the most persecuted minority groups in the world. Following a concerted campaign of extreme violence by the Myanmar authorities against Rohingya people in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017, over 700,000 Rohingya crossed over the border into the Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh.
The new arrivals joined thousands of other Rohingya who had left during earlier waves of violence and persecution in Myanmar. Most are living in fragile shelters in overcrowded settlements where they are vulnerable to the spread of disease.
This spring, MSF began preparing for COVID-19 in the world's largest refugee camp买球电脑版 and scaling up activities. We rolled out COVID-19 training for all staff, on everything from basic infection prevention and control measures to protocols on managing patients with suspected cases. The UN refugee agency reported the in the camps on May 14. MSF has since treated several patients with COVID-19 and monitored others with suspected cases of the disease. MSF has added isolation wards to all of our medical facilities in Cox’s Bazar and is preparing two dedicated COVID-19 treatment centers. Our focus is on treating all of our patients and ensuring that we can provide the best possible quality of care for COVID-19 while maintaining other essential health services.
Who are the Rohingya?
The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority who have lived in Myanmar for hundreds of years. Denied citizenship by Myanmar’s government, they are stateless and face particular challenges obtaining access to health care and other basic rights.
The Rohingya had very limited access to health care in Myanmar, and the majority did not receive routine vaccinations. This makes them highly vulnerable to preventable diseases. Vaccination campaigns, supported by MSF, have been instrumental in preventing outbreaks of cholera and measles, and in containing the spread of diphtheria—a rare disease long forgotten in most parts of the world. In December 2017, MSF warned that diphtheria was re-emerging among the Rohingya买球电脑版. Diphtheria is a contagious bacterial infection known to cause airway obstruction and damage to the heart and nervous system, and can be fatal if left untreated. MSF treated more than 7,032 people for diphtheria in Cox’s Bazar district by the end of June 2018.
We are also responding to the aftermath of horrific violence against the Rohingya committed by security forces and militias in Myanmar during the “clearance operations” that began on August 25, 2017. MSF has gathered accounts from patients from different areas of Rakhine state describing raids on villages, arson attacks, shootings, stabbings, and sexual violence. Our report provides a startling picture of widespread and targeted violence against the Rohingya. Using the most conservative figures, MSF mortality surveys indicate that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed within the first month of the violent campaign—including at least 730 children under the age of five.