"One of the greatest refugee crises of modern times"

"One of the greatest refugee crises of modern times"
By Catherine Hardy with UNICEF
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UNICEF is calling for urgent help for refugee Rohingya children in southern Bangladesh

Desperate living conditions and waterborne diseases are threatening more than 320,000 Rohingya refugee children who have fled to southern Bangladesh since late August.


“Many Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh have witnessed atrocities in Myanmar no child should ever see, and all have suffered tremendous loss,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

“These children urgently need food, safe water, sanitation and vaccinations to protect them from diseases that thrive in emergencies. But they also need help in overcoming all that they have endured. They need education, they need counselling. They need hope. If we don’t provide them with these things now, how will they ever grow up to be productive citizens of their societies? This crisis is stealing their childhoods. We must not let it steal their futures at the same time.”

In numbers

  • 500,000 – the number of people who have crossed into southern Bangladesh from Myanmar since late August

  • 200,000 – refugees who were already there

  • 60% – the latest arrivals who are children

  • 1,200 to 1,800 – the number of arrivals per day

What does UNICEF want?

In a newly-released report – “Outcast and Desperate: Rohingya refugee children face a perilous future” – the organisation says most refugees are living in overcrowded and insanitary makeshift settlements.

Despite an expanding international aid effort led by the government of Bangladesh, the essential needs of many children are not being met.

UNICEF is calling for:

  • An end to the atrocities targeting civilians in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

  • For humanitarian actors to be given immediate and unfettered access to all children affected by the violence there

  • A long-term solution to be found to the crisis, including support for returning refugees

  • 434 million dollars in aid to address the immediate needs of newly-arrived Rohingya children

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