Amid Rohingya crisis, ICRC warns of urgent need for improved access

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, said on Tuesday that the organisation was deeply concerned about problems affecting the Rohingya refugees’ basic needs in Cox’s Bazar.

Molly Perrett, a spokeswoman for the ICRC in New Delhi, said the organisation was keen to enter into a dialogue with the government and other organisations working in the Cox’s Bazar to address the most pressing challenges.

But, she added, any action to address the humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh depended on the ease of the border crossing, the extent of the overcrowding and the government’s willingness to share information with aid agencies.

Maurer issued a statement on the organisation’s website, saying: “In addition to providing health care and shelter to the affected people, [the ICRC] is providing educational support and providing awareness programmes and protection for some 400 refugees.”

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The ICRC has assisted more than 200,000 people in Cox’s Bazar since the crisis erupted in August, and more than 1,700 refugees have come to the organisation for medical treatment since mid-September. The organisation continues to provide emergency shelter kits for about 3,500 households on the island.

Maurer’s comments come a day after the United Nations refugee agency reported that children are likely to die in crowded refugee camps on Myanmar’s western border because their bodies cannot keep up with the demands of the extreme weather.

Thousands of Rohingya refugees living in government-run camps in Bangladesh have been advised to bring heavy clothes and blankets in case of more heavy rains and hail in the coming days, which could kill off young children.

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