– 1 August 2018
Monsoon season leaves thousands of Rohingya children in danger
The onset of monsoon season in Bangladesh has left more than 100,000 Rohingya child refugees in grave danger from flooding and water-borne diseases.
More than 900,000 Rohingya refugees have sought sanctuary in Bangladesh since the Myanmar military began its violent crackdown on the minority group last August - making it the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world. More than half of the refugees are children and at least 40,000 of them are unaccompanied after losing or being separated from their families.
Bangladesh experiences some of the most intense monsoon seasons on earth. They are often accompanied by cyclones, landslides and other natural disasters, and outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as malaria and cholera present a serious health risk.
As refugee families are forbidden from building permanent structures in the region many are living in bamboo huts which are vulnerable to collapsing during the heavy rains. The UN has begun relocating thousands of refugees to higher ground but the large numbers under threat means it will be impossible to move everyone to safety in time.
SOS Children’s Villages operates five child-care spaces in the region providing 300 children a day with a safe place to play, access education, trauma counselling, healthcare and a balanced diet. So far, they have been unaffected by the flooding and all the children under their care are safe, however toilets which were constructed for the facilities have been badly damaged and require repairs.
The extreme weather conditions have also created difficulties for the delivery of food supplies such as packaged milk, juice and fresh fruit to the child-care spaces – which are already frequently delayed by administrative hurdles and government inspections of humanitarian supplies.
Shuba Murthi, Head of SOS Children’s Villages in Asia said: “We are deeply concerned about the safety of Rohingya child refugees in Bangladesh, who are already facing severe health and nutritional challenges.
“In addition to emergency aid, we are providing family-based care for unaccompanied children and working to reunite them with their families wherever possible.”
SOS Children’s Villages is planning to expand its relief operations in Bangladesh to support the increasing numbers of children and families seeking refuge in the Cox Bazaar region. They are currently seeking funding to set up an additional three child-care spaces, which will provide children with:
- A safe place to play with other children
- Access to informal education
- A balanced diet and nutritional support
- Trauma counselling
- Primary healthcare
You can donate to our emergency relief work for Rohingya refugees here.
Notes to editors:
For media enquiries please contact Lucy Prioli at Lucy.Prioli@sosuk.org or on 01223 222 974.