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Give now to help Rohingya children

rohingya refugee children and families in a boat
How to help the Rohingya children: donate to UNICEF’s Rohingya Relief Fund. Your donations will be sent directly to assist refugee Rohingya children from Myanmar.

One year on, the struggle for Rohingya children continues

The transition from monsoon to cyclone season is slowly taking place. The cyclone period is expected to continue until November and may highly affect many parts of the country. In Cox’s Bazar, where the Rohingya refugees have settled, strong winds and rain will leave many living in temporary shelters highly vulnerable. More than half a million Rohingya refugee girls and boys living in the camps are still in need of clean water, food, shelter and protection. The risk of potential outbreaks of cholera or acute watery diarrhea is high.

One year on the Rohingya crisis, one of the most important issue UNICEF is tackling is to ensure these children go back to school and receive the learning skills they deserve. Education will not only provide them with the tools they need to thrive, it also brings children living in the camps with hope for better tomorrows. With its partners, UNICEF continues to provide non-formal education to more than 100 thousand children aged 4 to 14, and has trained more than 2800 teachers. UNICEF has set up 1,200 learning centres in the camps, but we’re working hard to expand education programs to ensure that every child gets the schooling they deserve.

Rohingya crisis explained

Q: What is the Rohingya crisis? Who are the Rohingya?

A: Rohingya are ethnically from the Rakhine State in Myanmar. Since late August, horrific violence and persecution has driven over 670,000 of the minority Muslim Rohingya community to seek refuge across the border in Bangladesh. Women and children fleeing from Myanmar’s Rakhine state into Bangladesh – who make up almost 90 per cent of the refugees – have reported experiencing or witnessing horrific violence and persecution– accounts which UN officials say point to grave human rights violations.

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On 16 October 2017, Rohingya refugees including women and children cross into Bangladesh at Palong Khali in Cox’s Bazar district./Roger LeMoyne

Q: How are Rohingya children affected?

A: More than 362,340 of the latest influx of new refugees since August 25 are children and making up 58% of the newly arrived Rohingya refugees. Altogether, about 703,000 children need urgent humanitarian assistance. These children are exceptionally vulnerable to death, disease, violence and exploitation. They are in urgent need of clean water, shelter, food, and medication. We must take every possible measure to ensure that these children are not deprived of their childhoods, and that they are given the chance to not only survive, but to thrive and reach their full potential. There are many traumatized, separated and unaccompanied children needing psychosocial support, family tracing and reunification and a protective environment.

On 6 September 2017, a Rohingya family from Myanmar who had crossed the border into Bangladesh are waiting to be transported to a settlement for Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar District, Bangladesh./Patrick Brown

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Q: What is UNICEF doing to help in Bangladesh?

A: UNICEF staff have been at Cox’s Bazar before the crisis began, and will be there as long as needed. We are having an immediate positive impact, but there is a critical need to scale up the response. UNICEF has been providing children with access to clean drinking water, food, vaccines, shelter, medical assistance, psychosocial support and education, but resources are being stretched to the limit. UNICEF Bangladesh has launched an aggressive response plan to reach more than 703,000 children caught in the emergency. UNICEF has appealed for‘$144.6 million USD to meet the urgent needs of Rohingya children and their families. 

Monsoon season is threatening the lives of Rohingya children:

  • The ongoing cyclone and monsoon season, expected to continue until November, is affecting Rohingya refugees and host communities in Cox’s Bazaar. Refugees are being relocated to other sites.
  • A reported 441 latrines and 294 bathing cubicles have been damaged by monsoon rains and must be repaired.
  • Risk of cholera remains high during monsoon season. Planning is ongoing for a round of oral cholera vaccinations targeting over 300,000 people.
  • Prior vaccination coverage amongst new arrivals is very low and deadly outbreaks of communicable diseases such as measles and diphtheria have already occurred.
  • An estimated 45,000 people rely on the continued trucking on 654,000 litres of safe water in water scarce areas of Hakimpara and Alikhali Camps.
  • More than 381,000 children have arrived in Bangladesh since last August and are in need of humanitarian assistance.

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The situation in the camps is becoming more organized with more and more interventions being established. However, living conditions for these refugees are still shockingly sub-standard. There are still pressing needs around water provision and sanitation systems, access to health and medical care, access to nutrition screening and access to education and child protection systems. While a massive Oral Cholera Vaccination (OCV) campaign is underway, disease continues to present a risk. The number of cases of diarrhoeal disease has been high among refugee arrivals. Coupled with poor nutrition, the effects of any disease outbreak would likely be devastating for children. The need for improved water, hygiene and sanitation within the camps is a major pressing priority.

Children play at a UNICEF supported mobile Child-Friendly Space in the Balukhali makeshift settlement for Rohingya refugees in Ukhiya, a sub-district of Cox's Bazar District, in Bangladesh./Shehzad Noorani

Q: What can you do to help the Rohingya children in crisis?

A: Donate to our Rohingya Relief Fund to send your donations directly to refugee children in need.

Page Last Updated: August 18, 2018