Advance planning, joint efforts were key: speakers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 06, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 06, 2020

Limiting Covid-19 Transmission at Rohingya Camps

Advance planning, joint efforts were key: speakers

Speakers at a virtual discussion lauded the government's advance planning and joint efforts with the UN and humanitarian partners to limit the transmission of coronavirus in the Rohingya camps, saying that this story must be heard globally.

They vowed to continue working together to keep Rohingyas and the host community safe.

CRI hosted the live discussion titled "Let's Talk on Rohingya Response and Covid-19" yesterday.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, UNHCR Representative in Bangladesh Steven Corliss, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Mahbub Alam Talukder, Medical Officer and IPC focal for Leda ITC Sumaya Tasnim and Rohingya representative Jane Alam took part in the discussion moderated by Showvik Das Tamal.

Corliss appreciated the government and the RRRC for taking decisive actions with the support from the partners in limiting people inside and outside the camps.

"Covid-19 has increased humanitarian needs," said the UNHCR representative, adding that they are making the best use of funds reducing their own cost.

Foreign Secretary Masud Momen said, "Despite constraints, we have managed Cox's Bazar quite well. This is a good story and must be shared globally."

Mahbub Alam said they have taken a coordinated approach with UN organisations and other stakeholders to deal with the Covid-19 situation in the camps.

The RRRC said five Rohingyas have so far died due to coronavirus. "The situation is not at an alarming stage... We are well prepared now."

ROHINGYA REPATRIATION

The foreign secretary said repatriation efforts have slowed down to some extent due to coronavirus and they are trying to expedite it. The clearance operation in Rakhine State and violence created instability there, hurting confidence of Rohingyas again.

Secretary Masud said the government's key target is to repatriate Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine safely.

 He said the government took up the Bhasan Char plan to minimise multiple risks for the Rohingyas including landslides, trafficking and radicalisation. "I have visited Bhasan Char. All facilities are there. Even recent cyclone Amphan could not leave any impact on Bhasan Char," he said.

He said currently 306 Rohingyas, including women and children, are living there. But that doesn't mean that Rohingyas will continue to live in Bangladesh for an indefinite period. "Our main target is to repatriate them," he said.

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