During the rainy season, which would coincide with the hunger gap—the time just before the next harvest when food stocks dwindle—we would treat more than 1,200 severely and moderately malnourished children every week. Because of this great need, we refused to allow anything to interfere with our activities.
On Tuesday, July 14, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) witnessed a group of approximately 30 police officers and local officials enter the Kutupalong makeshift camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, and destroy 259 homes, looting people’s possessions in the process. Other residents of the makeshift camp were told that they had 48 hours to leave or their homes would be burned down.
Laila is one of 25,000 unregistered Rohingya refugees in the area who have sought a safe place to live on the outskirts of the state-endorsed refugee camp supported by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Unlike their approximately 10,000 registered counterparts, the unregistered refugees in Kutupalong struggle to survive day to day, living in squalid conditions, vulnerable to ill health and exploitation.
Kutupalong, Bangladesh, June 18, 2009—Thousands of unregistered Rohingya refugees living in the Kutupalong makeshift camp, Bangladesh, are being forcibly displaced from their homes, in an act of intimidation and abuse by the local authorities.
MSF was recently alerted to a growing health crisis in the Kutupalong area of Bangladesh, where thousands of Rohingya—a Muslim ethnic minority originating from northern Rakhine state in Myanmar—are struggling to survive unassisted in a makeshift camp.
The Rohingyas are a Muslim minority from the border region between Bangladesh and Rakhine State in western Myanmar (formerly Burma). Their accounts of life in Myanmar include severe human rights abuses: restrictions on movement and on marriage; forced labor; land and assets confiscation; violence and arbitrary arrest.
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