Situation in refugee camps

Development Minister Müller concerned about outbreak of coronavirus in Rohingya refugee camp

Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller visiting the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh in February 2020. Some 800,000 Rohingya members who have fled or been displaced from Myanmar live there.

15.05.2020 |

BERLIN – With the first coronavirus infections now confirmed in the Cox's Bazar refugee camps in Bangladesh, Development Minister Müller has announced that German support is to be increased:

"In a next step, we will increase the commitment of 15 million euros we announced back in February to 25 million euros for 2020. We must now take specific steps to equip our partners on the ground and do everything possible to prevent any further spread of the virus in the camps. Above all, we want to work with UNICEF in order to relieve the situation of the more than 400,000 children who are among the refugees.

"The cramped conditions and poor hygiene facilities for the 850,000 people in the refugee camps are appalling. The potential consequences of a coronavirus outbreak in these circumstances are devastating. It is impossible to practise the necessary isolation, distancing and handwashing.

"We are already working on long-term improvements in the sanitation facilities through a drainage system and decentralised water treatment plants, and on building up health structures and ensuring food security for the refugees. With the outbreak of the virus we must now ramp up these activities at top speed. We need soap and other hygienic articles, toilets and facilities for handwashing. At the moment the wastewater is flowing right through the camps."

The development minister visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh back in mid-February. The development ministry launched initial measures at the time of the visit. Now these measures are to be ramped up.

One million people from the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar have fled to Bangladesh, where they are obliged to live under catastrophic conditions.

Refugees are the highest risk group in the world, since they are mostly not covered by the health systems of the countries where they have found refuge and because the border closures currently in place also make it difficult to bring in goods and assistance for them from outside.

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