On the 4th May, Doctors Worldwide UK launched its Emergency Response Kit training providing life-saving first aid skills to local Rohingya community leaders [majis] in anticipation of the cyclone and floods. Working with local majis is essential in ensuring the training reaches as many people as possible, particularly as the first responders are usually the local people who are affected. Majis are the main connectors of information and reach, for example one head maji will oversee 10 sub-majis who oversee thousands of families.
Since 25 August 2017, an estimated 688,000 Rohingya have fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and crossed the border into Cox’s Bazar in neighbouring Bangladesh. The new arrivals have joined around 213,000 people who were already in Bangladesh following earlier waves of displacement. As of February 2018, 900,317 Rohingyas are estimated to be sheltering in Bangladesh. Based on risk mapping conducted by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, the current locations of Rohingya refugee camps are at high risk of floods and landslides due to removal of vegetation and alteration of geographical terrain. The destruction of trees and building thousands of tents in the hill side has made the Rohingya refugees at high risk during the monsoon season, particularly due to the unstoppable rain.
Over 35 majis/community leaders attended the training who felt inspired and empowered with the new knowledge and skills they have received. At Doctors Worldwide UK, we believe it is vital to up-skill the first responders to any crisis, especially as most first responders are the local people who are affected. Our work ensures those who are on the front line can help when local health care facilities are too far and few in between.