COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh

Samina is desperately waiting for the reconstruction of a Turkish field hospital recently destroyed in a fire ripped through a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

The medical facility was among the thousands of makeshift tents and shanties gutted in the March 22 blaze. According to the UN, at least 15 people lost their lives, over 550 injured and 45,000 people displaced in the fire.

The 7-year-old Rohingya girl, who lost her eyesight when she was 2, was a regular patient at the Turkish hospital for the last six months. Her condition started to improve due to a fortnightly check-up and medication.

But when the hospital was burnt to ashes, all hope seemed to have faded. Thanks to Turkish support, however, it will be up and running soon.

The reconstruction works are in full swing. A 26-member team from the Turkish Health Ministry, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), and Turkey’s Housing and Development Administration reached the refugee settlement on March 27.

The hospital is now being built from scratch, and the structure is visible.

“Our president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, directed us to resume health services to the persecuted Rohingya as soon as possible,” Salih Altinay, head of foreign affairs and humanitarian aid of AFAD, told Anadolu Agency while supervising work on the ground.

“We expect to begin emergency services next week, and gradually full-fledged services will be restored.”

“We never thought that it would be in a position to resume emergency services in less than two weeks,” Lal Mohammad, Samina’s father, told Anadolu Agency.

Meanwhile, one of the visiting delegation members said the newly constructed hospital would be more advanced, modern, and expansive than the previous one.

“This time, we are using the latest material for hospital infrastructure to make it more sustainable,” said Sukru Yorulmaz of the Turkish Health Ministry. “Once the setup is complete, we will be able to deliver quality health care to more people than before.”

Since commencing operations in 2018, the hospital was treating at least 1,000 patients a day.

More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh in 2017 as the Myanmar military launched a crackdown that saw villages being burned down, extrajudicial killings, and rape.

Turkey has always supported the community, repeatedly drawing attention to their plight.

Bangladesh hails quick health response

Bangladesh, which now hosts 1.2 million Rohingya refugees, has hailed Turkey’s prompt response to reconstruct the hospital.

“It’s amazing that amid the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey will shortly resume its health services to the Rohingya community,” Dr. Abu Toha MR Bhuiyan, chief coordinator of Bangladesh Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner office, said.

He added that this would also encourage other service providers to help the Rohingya, often termed as the world’s most persecuted people.

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