Rohingya children in the world's largest refugee camp in Cox's Bazar face heightened risk of violence including child trafficking, child labour and child marriage amid worsening socioeconomic conditions caused by Covid-19, said child rights organisation Educo.
More than 42 Rohingyas have been infected and three died of the virus in the refugee camps. However, Educo says that these are conservative figures, highlighting that the cases could be much higher.
It said accurate information about the illness and measures to prevent its spread is failing to reach many people in the camps.
"We need to understand that Rohingya children in the refugee community were already facing various forms of violence and safety risks due to the desperate living conditions in the camps," said Matiur Rahaman, Educo Cox's Bazar emergency response head of mission, in a statement yesterday.
"It is appalling that the pandemic has created an even bigger crisis within an existing crisis for Rohingya children," he added.
Rahaman said Rohingya children are now cut off from the outside world as schools are still shut down, and many of them do not have access to learning alternatives.
There is also an acute need for hygiene kits and personal protective equipment such as facemasks, disinfectants, and hygiene kits to prevent children from getting infected, he said.
He said Educo's Covid-19 emergency response funded by Childfund Korea will focus on distribution of hygiene kits to 2,000 households in the refugee camps, provision of medical grade PPE for health facilities and isolation wards in the secondary health facilities, provision of need-based mental health and psychological support to vulnerable children and adolescents.
It will also provide unconditional cash support to the host communities in Cox's Bazar district.