Refugee groundwater is contaminated with E. Coli
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) worked to combat contaminated drinking water in camps for Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in Myanmar to seek refuge in Bangladesh. The refugee camps have found high levels of E. Coli contamination in camp well water. Already, 36,096 cases of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) have been reported resulting in 10 deaths.
UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said, “The latest figures from the World Health Organization suggest that 62 per cent of water available to households is contaminated.” The cause of the contamination is attributed to lack of proper hygiene and waste management. Not only are the wells dug too shallow, less than 40 meters deep, but there are not enough latrines for the influx of refugees. The existing latrines are too full and there is little land available for de-sludging.
According to the United Nations, the sites are in urgent need of development. Access to clean water is a major concern particularly as the dry season approaches.