COVID-19: Media Reports of the First Confirmed Case in the Rohingya Refugee Camps is a Major Cause for Concern, Warns Save the Children

Bangladesh risks losing decades of child development gains as coronavirus sweeps through the country

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (May 14, 2020)—In response to reports of coronavirus in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, Save the Children release the following statement.

Athena Rayburn, Save the Children Senior Advocacy Manager in Cox’s Bazar, said:

“We are deeply worried about the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on Bangladesh, as the country’s total caseload nears 20,000. Now that the virus has entered the world’s largest refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar, we are looking at the very real prospect that thousands of people may die from COVID-19. This pandemic could set Bangladesh back by decades.

“Despite the best efforts of aid agencies and the government of Bangladesh, healthcare capacity in the refugee camps is limited and across the country is overwhelmed due to COVID-19. There are only an estimated 2,000 ventilators in all of Bangladesh, serving a population of 160 million people. In the Rohingya refugee camps—home to nearly a million people—there are no intensive care beds at this moment.

“Save the Children is urgently calling for the international community to stand in solidarity with Bangladesh and provide funds and much-needed medical resources to protect the Rohingya population and the host community. Inaction could lead to a disastrous and preventable loss of life.

“A refugee camp is no place for a child to grow up. COVID-19 has exposed how vulnerable Rohingya refugees are. The international community must therefore urgently find a long-term solution to their plight. Rohingya refugee children cannot be allowed to spend their lives without access to formal education, healthcare, and with severe restrictions on their freedom of movement.” 

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