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12 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM

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Radios to raise awareness among Rohingyas

Shamsuddin Illius, Ctg and UNB, Dhaka
Radios to raise awareness among Rohingyas

As part of an awareness campaign among the Rohingya refugees at Cox’s Bazar camps, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has procured 75,000 radios to ensure that every Rohingya household gets one set.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has released an additional 5 million euro to provide life-saving food assistance to the Rohingya communities living in Cox's Bazar district. This comes on top of the 40 million euro in humanitarian aid announced in May in response to the crisis.

Earlier, the IOM distributed one radio for every three households.

The IOM has also conducted several awareness campaigns through listening sessions and podcasting using community radios. They conducted as many as 117 listening sessions across the refugee camps, especially topics like “Pregnancy and Neo-natal Care’, ‘Hygiene and Proper Waste Disposal’ and ‘Jaundice’ in November, said the monthly situation report, 2018.

“The IOM has procured more radios to make it possible for every household in its camps, and the implementing partner’s camps, to receive a radio. This new procurement means that 75,000 sets will be distributed,” said the report.

As per the situation report of the IOM, there are one million Rohingyas, including 207,265 families at the Cox’s Bazar camps.

When contacted, Inter Sector Coordination Group (ICSG) national communication officer Salma Rahman told The Independent: “Radios are being distributed among the Rohingya refugees at Cox’s Bazar as part of capacity building and creating awareness among the Rohingyas. Through the listening programmes messages are sent to them on some emergency issues, including landslides, cyclones, gender-based violence, child marriage, wash and hygiene.”     

Salma Rahman added: “The listening programmes are designed to create awareness and build capacity among them. By the end of this month, every household will get receive a radio.”

Rohingya refugees, who fled the violent crackdown by Myanmar security forces in Rakhine state, are living in hovels in Cox’s Bazar district, damaging over 5,000 acres of hilly land of the forest department. The Rohingyas have built the hovels in an unplanned way, destroying the biodiversity of the reserved forests in Cox’s Bazar. This has made them vulnerable to landslides triggered by heavy rain.

Moreover, the Cox’s bazaar district is a disaster-prone area. These listening programmes are helping the Rohingyas to understand the possible perils and will help them in speedy relocation.  

According to the population fact sheet of United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR), a total of 30,302 babies, including 15,173 infant females and 15,129 infant males were born over the past 11 months in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Abdus Salam, a civil surgeon in Cox’s Bazar district, has said more 30,000 children are due to be born in the next 10 months. Expectant mothers and lactating mothers are suffering from malnutrition. The listening programmes are developing the capacity of the Rohingyas on these issues as they were deprived of basic health care facilities in Rakhine State of Myanmar. The Rohingyas are also seeing the radios as tools of their awareness and sources of entertainment. Asma Begum of Balukhali camp, said, “The radio programmes are not only helping us to spend our time but also teaching us many things about health care.”

She added: “We now learn from the radio how to take care of our babies and keep ourselves safe from violence.”

Meanwhile, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said, “Today’s additional funding is another clear sign that the EU remains committed to stand by the side of the Rohingya for as long as it takes. Food assistance is an absolute necessity, and we will continue to support both Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh throughout this crisis.”

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district rely entirely on humanitarian aid for their survival. The additional EU funding will provide urgently needed food assistance to refugees, while ensuring access to food throughout the camps, makeshift settlements and host communities, said the European Union.

Following major outbreaks of violence in Myanmar in August 2017, over 700,000 Rohingyas have crossed the border into Bangladesh. This massive displacement has entered its second year, in what has become a protracted crisis with severe humanitarian consequences.

Vulnerabilities continue to grow as exposure to natural hazards and the congestion of the refugee camps pose enormous strains on displaced communities, said the EU.

Since 2017, the European Commission has allocated almost €115 million to the Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh, including €30 million announced during the Pledging Conference on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis, which the EU co-hosted in October 2017.

The European Commission has funded relief programmes in Cox’s Bazar District of Bangladesh since 1994.

The EU humanitarian relief focuses on food assistance, nutritional support, clean water and sanitation facilities, access to health care services, as well as increased protection for the most vulnerable groups.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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