Updated: Sep 5, 2021
What is Rohingya?
The Rohingya are a minority group of people that have been living in Myanmar for about the past 200 years. They are mostly Muslim in a predominantly Buddhist country. They also look different from the Oriental majority of Myanmar as they are brown-skinned.
What is the crisis?
In the 200 years that the Rohingya have been residing in Myanmar, they have never been given citizenship or any rights of citizens. This includes education, healthcare and immunization, voting rights, etc… Back in 2015, the Myanmar Army along with Buddhist extremists, began to systematically commit mass murder against the Rohingya people. They would go into Rohingya villages to raid and loot. They publicly executed the men. They raped the women. They tossed children into fire pits. Eventually, the Rohingya began to flee Myanmar to the neighboring country of Bangladesh in order to avoid said horrors.
The Current Situation
There are over 2 million displaced Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh right now. This makes it the most dense refugee crisis in the history of the world. Bangladesh is a very small, already poverty-stricken country the size of Georgia, the US state. The specific place in Bangladesh where the refugees are being sheltered is called Cox’s Bazaar, which is the size of Central Park in New York City. There has been a constant shortage of clothes, food, and medicine in the refugee camps. Because of the density of people, disease spreads very quickly. The refugees often die of diseases that have been eradicated in most parts of the world already. Multiple families are having to be crammed in small huts. There are more and more orphans everyday. The Bangladeshi government is trying to provide for the refugees but there is only so much that they can do being a poor country.
COVID-19 in the Rohingya Refugee Camps
Because of the lack of documentation of the refugees, there is hardly any accurate information on how many Rohingya have been infected or have died of COVID-19. But as stated previously, the density makes spreading of disease very easy. The numbers of cases and deaths can be inferred to be extremely high. Bangladesh is already the leading country for COVID deaths as of the summer of 2021.