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The cold spell caused immense suffering for nearly a million Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
At least two children have died and scores have fallen sick amid the bone-chilling cold that has swept across Bangladesh, adding to the miseries of life.
Abdul Kalam, 38, a Rohingya father of five from Balukhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, said his family has been reeling from the bad weather.
“We are trying to survive with three blankets we received from NGOs. Two of the children are suffering from cold, fever and pneumonia, and we are worried about them,” he said.
He said two infants had died in refugee camps due to cold-related diseases.
“Doctors told us to keep them warm but we don’t know what we can do for them,” Kalam said.
Abdul Hamid, 30, a dweller of Kutupalng Rohingya camp has been living here for 10 years said that he never been witnessed such bone-chilling cold in the area.
Expressing penance, he said warm clothes and blankets provided by NGOs are not good enough to protect cold.
Lalu Majhi, another Rohingya of Balukhali camp exclaimed with sorrow that, the temporary shelters are made of thin polythene that can’t protect them from the bitter cold.
Abul Kalam, 35, dweller of Kutupalong Rohingya camp also expresses utmost sufferings. “ We got only two blankets for our eight-member family. Besides we are deprived of food allowance. WFP donates 25 KGs rice to every family but we are yet to get the allowance,” he added.
Muhammad Nikaruzzaman, a government official in Ukhiya sub-district, which covers most of the refugee camps, said government measures have saved the Rohingyas from the cold snap.
“We have distributed 100,000 blankets to them while aid groups have provided about 800,000 pieces. We have 120 medical centres running in the camps and dozens of temporary centres serving the needs of people,” said Nikaruzzaman.
The country is experiencing severe cold spell since last a couple of days. The lowest temperature has been recorded 2.6 degree Celsius in Tetulia upazila of Panchagarh on Sunday.
The cold snap is likely to continue for at least a week, according to the Meteorological Department.
Health officials have warned that incidents of sickness and death will increase if the cold wave continues.
The government, local administrations and aid agencies are rushing to help poor and needy people with warm clothes, blankets, food, and medicines.