Photo Credits: © Karen Prior Action contre la Faim
Rohingyas in Bangladesh
2 months after the start of the exodus, the situation is still critical
Oct 27 2017
Two months after the first outbreak of violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, the influx of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh continues to grow. Over 604,000 refugees have now crossed the Bangladeshi border.
Action Against Hunger warns that the camps have become over-populated, the living conditions are appalling and the risks resulting from the health crisis are extremely acute. The most severely affected are children under the age of 18, who now account for over 54% of the refugees.
“What we have seen in both countries is very disturbing. The levels of suffering that have led to such a rapid and massive displacement of population are enormous”, said Isabelle Moussard-Carlsen, Director of Operations, Action contre la Faim
Children are the main victims of violence
Over two months, the Rohingya population has gone through nothing less than an exodus. The number of refugees fleeing the outburst of violence in the Rakhine State in Myanmar continues to grow day after day. Amongst the 604,000 displaced people, 320,000 are said to be children under the age of 18. Some come alone, are often starved and have suffered severe losses.
In the camps, high levels of severe acute malnutrition have been seen in these young children: Action Against Hunger has screened more than 175,000 children under the age of five and has already admitted some 22,000 cases of severe and moderate acute malnutrition. The children, along with over than 8,500 pregnant and breastfeeding women, have been admitted to the aid agency’s nutrition programme to receive the help they require. In many of the sites that have spontaneously emerged, there is no access to water and sanitation facilities, raising the risks of an outbreak of disease.
Long-term responses needed from the international community
On Monday 23 October, the ‘Pledging Conference for the Rohingya Refugee Crisis in Bangladesh’, held in Geneva, called for 434 million dollars to be pledged by February 2018, as aid for the Rohingya refugees. Speaking at the Conference, Action Against Hunger stated that whilst these donations are essential to providing emergency humanitarian aid, they also need to come with strong-willed political commitment.
“While responding to the humanitarian emergency with traumatised and exhausted women, children and men, we also have to think about avoiding the mistakes that we have done in other contexts: creating or letting mega camps form will not be a good solution, neither for the immediate, nor the medium term.” Explained Isabelle Moussard-Carlsen.
Solutions for the future need to be reviewed, so Rohingya children are able to have a future in which they will have the opportunity to learn, develop and contribute to the economic and social development of the society in which they live.
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