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Rohingya crisis: "I am due to give birth any day now."

Rohingya husband and wife, Anjuman, 15, and Osman, 18, arrived at the Balukhali settlement in early October. Anjuman is heavily pregnant and due to give birth at any moment. She will become a child mother and her baby, like her, will be stateless.

Anjuman, 15, is heavily pregnant and due to give birth at any time
Anjuman, 15, is heavily pregnant and due to give birth at any time.

Donate to the Rohingya Crisis Appeal“Back home in Myanmar I had a grocery shop and I earned sufficient money each month to support my family – including sending money to my mother across the border,” says Osman, 18. “Of the 2000 Taka I brought with me from Myanmar, I have already spent 600 to buy bamboo, ropes and some food, and I have kept 1,000 for my wife’s delivery.

“It took me and Anjuman one and half days to build this tent. We didn’t have any help. We have spoken with the ‘majhi’ for our block to discuss water and sanitation problems, but since this block is at the far end of the camp, we get a slow response for everything. A few hand pumps were installed earlier, but they don’t work anymore because the water level has gone down. So everyone in our block has to walk a long way to collect water.”

Lack of water and sanitation facilities

A majhi is a community representative who manages 20-25 households, addressing any serious issues and liaising with the camp authorities and relief agencies to get support for each household in his or her block.

 It is hard having to rely on other people when we are used to providing for ourselves.

The current lack of sanitation facilities is making life especially hard for 15-year-old Anjuman who, at nine months pregnant, is due to give birth any day.

“During the day, I relieve myself inside the tent. My husband has wrapped tarpaulin in one corner, so I don’t need to walk far. But when I need to use an actual toilet, I have to wait until night and go up the hill, because there are no loos near where we live,” she explains.

“I don’t know what will happen to me; I feel very ill and get tired even just lighting the fire to cook. Yesterday, I got a headache and fell down on the floor and there was no one to help me. My mother-in-law is elderly and won’t be able to come here during my delivery. I’m nervous about giving birth all alone.

“I haven’t had a shower since I came here. There is no water source around. My husband brought drinking water in a plastic container but it was not enough to quench my thirst. I am very worried about my delivery. What will happen to me? Who can I ask for help? Over the last few days my husband has been going out to register for identification numbers with the hope that we will get relief. But it is hard having to rely on other people when we are used to providing for ourselves.”

Plan International's humanitarian response

Plan International is providing humanitarian assistance to Rohingya people living in Balukhali settlement in Cox’s Bazar.

Our initial response is focused on sanitation facilities and will benefit a total of 60,000 people. To date, we have distributed 400 hygiene kits and run accompanying hygiene promotion sessions for 1,275 people.

700 latrines will be installed, benefitting 35,000 people, and engineers are already on-site to finalise the locations and installations.

Support Rohingya children and families 

Please support families like Anjuman's, today, by donating to the Rohingya Crisis Appeal