Statement by Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director: “More than 125,000 Rohingya refugees have fled across the border from Rakhine State, Myanmar, into Bangladesh since 25 August. As many as 80 per cent of them are women and children. Many more children in need of support and protection remain in the areas of northern Rakhine State that have been wracked by violence.
“In Bangladesh, UNICEF is scaling up its response to provide refugee children with protection, nutrition, health, water and sanitation support.
“In Myanmar, UNICEF does not at present have access to the affected areas in northern Rakhine State. We are unable to reach the 28,000 children to whom we were previously providing psychosocial care or the more than 4,000 children who were treated for malnutrition in Buthidaung and Maungdaw. Our clean water and sanitation work has been suspended, as have school repairs that were under way.
“Children on both sides of the border need urgent help and protection.”
Response in Bangladesh
UNICEF has already built eight functioning Child Friendly Spaces for Rohingya children and adolescents, providing children with psychosocial and recreational support. UNICEF has initiated the screening of children for malnutrition, and the vaccination of children aged 9-59 months against Measles and Rubella – in the makeshift settlements and hard-to-reach host communities. More than 15,200 people now have access to safe drinking water and 9,700 people are provided with improved sanitation facilities in host communities.
With the recent influx of Rohingyas –more than 80% of them are children and women- the demand has increased and UNICEF is working to mobilize more support and strengthen its existing activities. For recreational and psychosocial support to the newly arrived Rohingya children, 33 mobile CFSs are now operational with 100 recreational kits, Education in Emergency (EiE) kits and trained teachers. These mobile child friendly spaces have already provided psychosocial support to 226 newly arrived Rohingya children. Separated and unaccompanied children are also being identified through Child Friendly Spaces and community outreach. UNICEF is also ready to distribute hygiene kits and water purification tablets.
UNICEF is calling for an additional US$5 million funding in Bangladesh to support to the needs of the recent Rohingya influx in Cox’s Bazar.