Association of Medical Doctors of ASIA, founded in 1984, Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC since 1995








Activity Report #7: Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Publication date:2018-06-08
November 2017 Report
Starting medical support at the Rohingya refugee camp
AMDA started its medical support at the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh in October 2017. From August 2017, a substantial number of Rohingya people, believed to now be over one million, became displaced from their homes in Myanmar as a minority Muslim community. It has become a global humanitarian crisis. Due to such a large influx of people, the number has already reached far beyond the capacity of the facilities built for them so far. Furthermore, the number of displaced persons is continually increasing. Living in makeshift tents made from bamboo and plastic sheets with limited food, they have no choice but to live in conditions of very poor levels of sanitation. Acknowledging this situation, under the lead of AMDA Bangladesh, AMDA began its medical support activities at the Rohingya camp.

Already beyond capacity, the ever-increasing number of displaced persons
The Rohingya, an Islamic minority, have been escaping Myanmar, which is predominantly Buddhist, to Bangladesh in large numbers since 1992. Gradually increasing since then, the number of Rohingya refugees within Bangladesh was said to have reached roughly 200,000 at the start of 2017. Some of these started to leave the refugee camps to other provinces throughout the country. However, given the scale of this influx of displaced persons, the Bangladesh government issued a notification asking all Rohingya refugees to return to the camp, so the numbers at the camp increased further. Furthermore, the influx became even greater from August 2017. Even now, it has been reported that as many as 5,000 are arriving every day. Being unable to keep up, getting a grasp of the actual number of displaced persons is very problematic. It is estimated that there must be more than one million individuals living within the camp.

  The very poor conditions within the camp
The refugee camp, extended by cutting into mountains, of course has no electricity, gas or effective plumbing. Uneven pathways are surrounded by extremely makeshift tents packed together, made from bamboo and plastic sheets. This continues as far as the eye can see. Goods such as water and food are distributed among the people three times per day. Because of this there are always people lining up and waiting for or carrying supplies. Then, in order to build new tents, there are also many people coming and going carrying around building materials. It feels as if the place is overflowing. On top of the unsanitary condition of communal toilets overflowing with human waste, the water wells are unable to meet demand. Further construction works are continuing as fast as humanly possible.
Even the children, living arduously
Inside the camp, you can see many children concentrating on inventing ways to play, making things like kites from scraps of plastic bags and cars from plastic bottles. Many children also carry the burden of lining up for supplies for their families. There are even times when there are only young children lining up for supplies. In addition, as there are no school systems within the camp, the children cannot receive any education. Moreover, because there were many who were not even allowed to go to school whilst living in Myanmar, the reality is that this doesn’t make a large difference to the majority of cases anyway. This itself is considered to be of great concern.

From here on out – A Provisional AMDA clinic set up within the refugee camp
In response to the Rohingya crisis, AMDA dispatched a team from AMDA Bangladesh in September 2017 to survey the situation. As it was apparent that medical support was a necessity, a provisional clinic was established and AMDA started providing medical assistance from October. With the exception of Fridays (a Holy day in Islam), the clinic provides medical examinations for five hours every day, and sees an average of 120 patients per day. At first, there were many patients who required treatment for external wounds, but presently there are many for those with diarrhea, coughs, fever, skin disease, etc. In addition, it is said that there are 60,000 pregnant women who will need to give birth in the near future. It is expected that medical needs within the camp such as these will only increase. In view of the current situation, AMDA, under the initiative of AMDA Bangladesh, has started its activities. AMDA has implemented its medical support program and plans to continue it into the future. AMDA Bangladesh, one of AMDA International’s chapters, was formed in 1992 in order to give emergency medical support to the fleeing Rohingya community.
    •  GPSP Multi-National Medical Mission (Peace Building)
    •  Bangladesh
    •  Myanmar
    •  2017
    •  for the Rohingya Refugees