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Updated On: Monday, 16 September 2019

Aiding Rohingya Refugees

Content by: South-South News

15 September 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — Up to 400,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since August 25, with thousands more arriving every day. Around 60 percent are children, according to preliminary estimates. The sheer number of refugees has overwhelmed pre-existing refugee camps, with new arrivals seeking shelter anywhere they can find space.

The UN Children’s Fund - UNICEF – has sent trucks filled with emergency water, sanitation and hygiene supplies for thousands of Rohingya children to Cox’s Bazar, with a steady stream of supplies in the pipeline for the coming days and weeks.

Jean-Jacques Simon, the Chief of Communication for UNICEF Bangladesh, said, “The water truck that we saw bringing clean water to these people who need it very much is extremely important because without clean water, you can get water-borne diseases — children can die. A lot of these people need water every day. They came from the border area — they walked for many days. They come here tired and they need clean water. Clean water is at the center of this humanitarian crisis.”

Supplies include detergent powder, soap, and pitchers and jugs for containing water, along with diapers, sanitary napkins, towels and sandals. UNICEF is also supporting the Bangladesh Department of Public Health Engineering with water treatment plants and carriers, and is working with partners on the ground to install and rehabilitate tube wells.

UNICEF has appealed for $7.3 million to provide emergency support to Rohingya children over the next four months.

Meanwhile, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said it is responding to the urgent food needs of the people arriving in the Cox’s Bazar as they flee violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. WFP is especially concerned about the health of women and children arriving hungry and malnourished. Nearly 3,500 pregnant women, new mothers and children under the age of five have received a special, high-nutrient porridge made of wheat and soya flour.

David Beasley, Executive Director of the WFP said "we're talking about 20 to 25,000 people per day fleeing for their lives, crossing the border into Bangladesh. We're scaling up from 25 - 35,000 people to 400,000 people and we're talking about even more - so we're on the ground getting it done."

Since August 27, WFP has provided more than 83,500 people with high-energy biscuits as they arrive seeking shelter in already overcrowded settlements in Cox’s Bazar. Around 95,000 people have received warm meals – khichuri, a kind of rice and lentil porridge – through community kitchens operated by Action Contre la Faim, where WFP provides rice. These kitchens continue to provide meals for about 5,300 people per day.

WFP needs at least $14.8 million to scale up assistance to those seeking shelter in the camps for the next four months. The financial needs may increase as the number of people needing assistance increases.

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