Background: An estimated 1.16 million Rohingya people originally displaced from Myanmar have been living in 32 camps in Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh. Newly arrived Rohingya peoples are living in spontaneous settlements, and there is an increasing need for humanitarian assistance; including shelter, clean water, and sanitation. Collectively, a total of 6057 water points and 50087 emergency latrines have been built to support the needs of inhabitants of the camps. Safe drinking water is essential for life. Water is unsafe for human consumption if contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms. A quality water supply (adequate, safe and accessible) must be ensured to all human beings for healthy life. Herein we report microbial contamination of drinking water from a large habitation of Rohingya population.
Methods: We have collected a total of 12650 drinking water samples from source and point-of-use and tested for fecal coliforms and E. coli contamination.
Results: It has been found that 28.14% (n=896) water samples derived from tube wells were contaminated with fecal coliforms and 10.6% (n=337) were contaminated with E. coli; also, 73.96%, (n=4644) samples from stored household sources (at point of use – POU) were found contaminated with fecal coliforms while 34.67% (n=2177) were contaminated with E. coli. It was also observed that higher percentage of POU samples fall in the highest risk category (based on number of E. coli contamination per 100 mL sample) than that of their sources.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate secondary contamination during collection, transportation and storage of water due to lack of knowledge of personal and domestic hygiene. Hence, awareness buildup is necessary and the contaminated sources should be replaced as well as the POU water should be treated by a suitable method to provide safe water in the camps.