In order to avert a major disease outbreak in the Rohingya camps of Cox's Bazar district and provide quick panacea to the ever increasing sanitation problems, UNICEF and the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief of the Government of Bangladesh signed a work plan today.
Under the work plan, UNICEF will finance the construction of 10,000 latrines in the Rohingya camps and settlements in the quickest possible time to ward off the threat of large scale water-borne diseases among the refugee and host population, a UNICEF press release said.
The work plan was signed at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) by Joint Secretary, Muhammad Habibul Kabir Chowdhury, and by Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Bangladesh Representative.
The 10,000 latrines will provide sanitation coverage to some 250,000 people. While the cost of each latrine has been estimated at Taka 11,800 (US$ 147), the total amount of this undertaking is $1.47 million. The Bangladesh Armed Forces Division will construct the latrines within 6-8 weeks.
"There are already reports of water-borne diseases from the health centres in the camps. Disease outbreak is a real and present danger for the camp dwellers and host population. We immediately need to step up sanitation coverage there," said Edouard Beigbeder, Representative, UNICEF Bangladesh. UNICEF will provide needful financial as well as technical support to the ministry in this endeavour.
UNICEF and its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector partners will provide locations for each set of 5-rings model latrines. The latrines will also be regularly disinfected through spraying chlorine solution so that these do not become sources of contamination.
"I thank UNICEF Bangladesh for their assistance in this massive public health undertaking. We will do whatever needed to implement the task within the shortest possible timeline," said Mofazzel Hossain Maya, Minister for Disaster Management and Relief.
UNICEF together with the Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) and WASH sector partners are also implementing an accelerated programme of building latrines for the refugees in the camps in two sub-districts of Cox's Bazar district.
Meanwhile, UNICEF and its partners in the health sector launched on October 10 a massive oral cholera vaccination campaign in Ukhiya and Teknaf sub-districts of Cox's Bazar mobilizing 900,000 doses of cholera vaccines to protect newly arrived Rohingyas and the host community from the onslaught of cholera.