Balukhali, Cox’s Bazar: Chaos has struck Rohingya camp, as hundreds of Rohingya, including children, struggle to get aid packages being thrown from trucks at Balukhali in the Bangladeshi city of Cox’s Bazar bordering Myanmar.
Moreover, the torrential rains have added misery to already distressed refugees, who are sheltering in bordering town.
Women, holding their babies on shoulders, stood in rain hoping to get food, tarpaulins, and clothes distributed by local Bangladeshis.
Highlighting the grave conditions for Rohingya refugees, aid agencies reported on September 15 that at least two children and one woman were killed in a stampede that broke out as aid was being distributed.
More than half of the estimated 412,000 Rohingya who have escaped Myanmar’s military crackdown live in makeshift sites without proper shelter, clean drinking water and sanitation.
Arefa, along with hundreds of fellow Rohingya, was among the crowd waiting for the much-needed aid.
Drenched in the rain with her two-year-old daughter, Minara, Arefa was crying. She said there was no food for her and her two children, as reported by Al Jazeera.
“I do not have food, no shelter and no way to cook anything. I have yet to get any relief. If I get aid I eat, otherwise I go hungry,” she added, as her tears poured down.
Arefa had arrived two days ago from Lambaguna village in Akyab district. Her husband, Nabi Hussain, was shot dead by the Myanmar military, she said.
A fellow Rohingya offered her a small tarpaulin tent until she arranges her own. But at the private aid distribution centre in Balukhali, she had little luck.
Distressed Rohingya have built sheds made of tarpaulin and bamboo sticks on sandy hillocks and in open spaces, as there is limited space in the registered camps run by national and international NGOs.
The rains have flooded several campsites, Balukhali already hosts thousands of Rohingya who fled last October.
Aid agencies are warning that operations cannot run in this disorganised manner. Coordination between humanitarian agencies, local NGOs, and the authorities is crucial, they have said.
“We are trying to expand our activities and build new clinics and health posts to give basic access to healthcare, but at the end of the day everything is slowed down by the infrastructure and logistic challenges,” said Robert Onus, emergency coordinator at Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
“The scale of the crisis may not be well understood by everyone because it’s impossible to describe unless you see it with your own eyes,” he told Al Jazeera.