IN FOCUS

Life for the Rohingya in the world’s largest refugee camp

About 18 months ago, more than 730,000 mainly Muslim Rohingya fled into neighbouring Bangladesh to escape persecution in Myanmar in a global exodus of an unprecedented rate, joining about 250,000 Rohingya already living there.

More than 900,000 Rohingya are now living in camps south of Cox’s Bazar in southeast Bangladesh in the world’s largest refugee settlement, with no sign of a return in the near future to the country where they were refused citizenship and had limited access to education and healthcare.

Initially aid agencies and non-government organisations (NGOs) worked with the Bangladesh government on life-saving operations, building shelters and sanitation, arranging food supplies, and providing emergency healthcare, but with the 34 or so camps in the settlement now more ordered, the work has shifted to focus on upgrading infrastructure and services for the longer term.

We visited Cox’s Bazar to see how life in the camps has impacted the Rohingya, one of the most oppressed people in the world, and the challenges that lie ahead.