UN battles mounting illness in Rohingya camps

A woman carries an ill Rohingya refugee child through a camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on September 28, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 03 October 2017

UN battles mounting illness in Rohingya camps

COX’S BAZAAR, Bangladesh: Relief agencies on Tuesday fought to contain a diarrhea outbreak around camps in Bangladesh where more than 500,000 Rohingya have taken shelter in the past five weeks.
The UN said meanwhile it would seek $430 million to increase operations in the camps along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. The Rohingya Muslims have poured across the frontier to escape a military crackdown in Myanmar.
A 20-bed treatment clinic was opened at Kutupalong refugee camp Monday to treat diarrhea victims and another 60-bed facility would be set up this week, a UN spokesman said.
UN staff and volunteers were touring Kutupalong and nearby makeshift camps to identify those who have not sought treatment, UN refugee agency spokesman Andrej Mahecic said.
“We have seen an increasing trend of diarrheal disease cases, including cases of diarrhea with severe dehydration,” he said.
Bangladesh authorities were not aware of diarrhea-related deaths in the camps, but the health department said more than 10,500 Rohingya had been treated since the influx began on Aug. 25.
The World Health Organization has warned of a growing cholera risk in the makeshift camps as they lacked safe drinking and hygiene facilities. The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) group also said the camps were on the brink of a public health disaster.
The camps face dire shortages of food and medicine in what has become one of the world’s largest refugee settlements.
The overwhelmed camps around the border town of Cox’s Bazar already had 300,000 people who fled earlier violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
Mark Lowcock, a UN under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said the world body would be seeking “something like $430 million to enable us to scale up the relief operation.”
“Conditions in the camps at the moment are terrible,” Lowcock told reporters in Cox’s Bazar.
The UN has already given an extra $12 million from its emergency response fund.
“What we want to do is to make sure that the tragedy of the Rohingya is not magnified and amplified by a human catastrophe and health catastrophe,” the UN official declared.


Spain: Storm death toll up to 7, major river floods feared

Updated 16 min 42 sec ago

Spain: Storm death toll up to 7, major river floods feared

MADRID: Three more people have died as a result of a fierce storm that has battered Spain for the past three days, authorities said Wednesday, raising the death toll to seven.
Fears increased that heavy rains expected later Wednesday could lead to several swollen rivers breaking their banks, among them the Onyar river that flows through the northeastern city of Gerona .
The body of a missing man was found Wednesday in a flooded area near the town of Callosa, in southeastern Spain, the local Valencia regional government said.
It added that a woman was killed when her apartment building partially collapsed in the town of Alcoy, following heavy rains.
In the southeastern town of Nijar, a farmer was found dead in a plastic greenhouse that had been hit by a hail storm, according to the private Spanish news agency Europa Press.
Four other people died between Sunday and Tuesday.
Searches continued for several missing people.
Since Sunday, the storm has hit mostly eastern areas of Spain with hail, heavy snow and high winds, while huge waves smashed into towns on the Mediterranean coast and the nearby islands of Mallorca and Menorca.
Weather forecasts said the worst of the storm had passed by Wednesday.
Transport authorities said the bad weather forced the closure of more than 200 roads. Schools canceled classes for more than 5,700 pupils.
Officials in Barcelona said the city’s beaches lost much of their sand due to the high, powerful surf.
Rubén del Campo, spokesman for national weather service AEMET, said he expected that once all data was collected the storm will have been one of the strongest on record. Some areas saw their heaviest rainfall in more than 70 years.