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2.85m reusable masks distributed among Rohingyas, locals in Cox’s Bazar

  • Published at 09:22 am October 21st, 2020
covid masks
File photo: Bigstock

Providing masks, produced by local tailors, a critical measure to prevent spread of Covid-19    

Humanitarian organizations have completed the distribution of over 2,855,850 million reusable masks in all 34 Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar and all eight upazilas throughout the district, as a critical measure for preventing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To mitigate the loss of livelihoods and devastating economic impacts of Covid-19 and fill gaps in global supply chains, the Food Security Sector’s Livelihoods Working Group (LHWG) partners have worked closely with government authorities in Cox’s Bazar to jumpstart the production of masks as an income-generating activity engaging more than 2,480 skilled tailors in both the refugee camps and in the host community, according to Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG).

Working through a multi-sector approach, LHWG established this multi-partner mask-making initiative in late March to fill the gaps left by global supply chains and boost incomes of families bearing the brunt of Covid-19 economic repercussions.

The reusable masks have been produced by local tailors and 2,855,850 distributed to both refugees and host communities, together with visual guidelines on how to effectively wear and wash the masks. Each person over 5 years old received two masks made by three layers of breathable weave fabric in alignment with WHO guidance and approved by the Cox’s Bazar civil surgeon.

Before it was possible to distribute masks across all 34 camps, the first distributions prioritized the most vulnerable groups such as older persons, volunteers and individuals attending distributions sites who were more frequently in contact with others, and for use in Women Friendly Spaces where women and girls seek services and support for gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

In the host communities, more than 1.255 million reusable cloth masks have been distributed to more than 627,700 vulnerable Bangladeshis living in all eight upazilas of Cox’s Bazar district and in the camps more than 1.6 million masks have been distributed to all Rohingya individuals aged 5 and above (728,216 individuals), ensuring coverage of at least two masks per person.

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