Emergency sanitation needed in Leda Camp

Over 1.1 million Rohingyas are densely dwelling in the Southern part of Bangladesh refugee camps. Over the years, the large number of refugees coupled with lack of space, undulating terrain, poor infrastructure and improper sanitation. The Refugee camps have now reached their peak capacity. Sanitation has become now, one of the biggest concerns in Norail para, Leda camp, Teknaf.

Condition of public latrines:

Jalal, the Majhi of Block I6 explained, “There are only 10-12 latrines for 150 families who are living in this block. But in certain areas, there is only 1 latrine for 20 families. 20 bathrooms are allocated in this block to take bath only. These are not enough for us. Early morning and evening people wait in a queue to use latrines.”

Built with a tin roof and attached tin clads these toilets lack privacy and safety. Moreover, mass usage causes the septic tank to overflow and requires cleaning between 15-20 days. But the cleaners often hinders, as a consequence the sanitation chain hampers. Therefore, refugees have to answer nature’s call in open. The stench is everywhere making everyday life miserable. The pathway turns muddy in the account of overflow sewage water. Infectious and water-borne diseases often break out due to an unhealthy and unhygienic environment.

Sources of water:

About 26,000 inhabitants of the Leda refugee camp need 360,000 litres of treated water every day, which is a challenge in itself since there is no reliable access to surface or groundwater sources. Surface water is available during the monsoons while groundwater is not suitable for extraction in large volumes since there is saltwater, as it is close to the sea. But in some areas, refugees are extorting water from the ground by installing tubewell. But most of the tube-wells remain non-functional during the dry season. In some places, there is no tubewell. As a result, the residents are forced to travel far away in search of water.

Currently, a number of international donor agencies and NGOs, including government and non-governmental organizations are providing humanitarian assistance to the refugees. One of the NGO’s, NGO Forum has worked to build latrines across the Leda refugee camp. However, the need is far high than the existing one.