Unicef has appealed for USD76.1 million emergency humanitarian aid for Rohingyas, who fled to Bangladesh following ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.
The aid will cover the immediate needs of 720,000 children including newly-arrived Rohingya children, those who arrived before the recent influx, and children from vulnerable host communities, a statement of Unicef says today.
Up to 60 percent of the 500,000-plus Rohingyas, who have fled Myanmar since August 25, are estimated to be children. Most are now living in harsh and insanitary conditions in makeshift camps and settlements spread across the district of Cox’s Bazar.
“Desperate, traumatized children and their families are fleeing the violence in Myanmar every day. We are scaling up our response as fast as we can, but the magnitude of need is immense and we must be able do more to help them. These children are being denied a childhood. They need our help now and they need our help to have a future”, said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, who is visiting southern Bangladesh.
Expanding the provision of safe water, sanitation and improved hygiene for Rohingya children is the overriding priority of the appeal, amid concerns over a possible outbreak of diarrhea and other waterborne diseases.
The majority of Rohingya children are not fully immunized against diseases such as polio, the statement said.
An oral cholera vaccination campaign targeting all children over one year old is planned in October, and 900,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in Bangladesh on October 7, possibly earlier.
An earlier Unicef appeal for US$7 million has been expanded to reflect the fast-growing scale of the crisis.