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Aid coordination for Rohingya refugees remains a challenge, says Mercy Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Aid coordination for Rohingya refugees at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border remains a challenge due to the large volume of people arriving at already crowded camps on an almost daily basis, said Mercy Malaysia.
The humanitarian organisation said that with resources already strained by an existing refugee population of 200,000, prices of essential goods and medications have begun to rise as demand exceeds supply.
Mercy Malaysia president Dr Ahmad Faizal said the rainy seasons bring forth new challenges such as rising prices of goods and potentially fast-spreading diseases.
“Despite efforts by the Bangladeshi government, military and international aid organisations such as Mercy Malaysia, aid coordination remains a challenge,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
A violent crackdown on the Rohingya at the end of August has resulted in more than 500,000 refugees fleeing the Rakhine state in Myanmar over the border to Bangladesh.
Considered to be stateless and often subjected to arbitrary violence and forced labour in Myanmar, the Rohingya are considered by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
Dr Ahmad said that the most critical need was health services, which they had been providing at their two Primary Health Clinics (PHCs) at the Thankhali and Balukhali camps since the end of Sept.
Their medical officers at Thankhali PHC see more than 100 patients daily, while the Balukhali camp receives about 300 patients daily.
To date, they have seen close to 7,000 patients, with the most common ailments being diarrhoea, headache, fever or infection, skin problems and gastritis, added Dr Ahmad adding that they have deployed 20 doctors so far.
Dr Ahmad said mane of the camp sites are located along steep, hilly terrain while the lack of space poses problems to the medical teams, who work in stifling, cramped clinics and face long queues of restless patients every day.
He added that Mercy will focus on developing a comprehensive health centre at the Kutupalong Expansion Block D site that will provide a wider range of medical services such as mother and child healthcare services.
“We appeal to everyone to chip in any amount to make the lives of even one child, or one family, at Cox’s Bazar, a little better,” urged Dr Faizal.
Donations to Mercy Malaysia’s Myanmar Relief Fund can be made by logging on to www.mercy.org.my.
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