NEW YORK, NY (September 21, 2017)— As world leaders meet in New York for the UN General Assembly, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children who fled violence and killing in Myanmar’s Rakhine state are now facing an increasingly desperate situation in Bangladesh.
Close to 250,000 children are among the newly arrived Rohingya in the Bangladesh district of Cox’s Bazar, where there are widespread shortages of food, water and shelter. Heavy rainfall in recent days is making a desperate situation even worse.
“We have been shocked by some of the stories our teams have heard from Rohingya children who have crossed the border into Bangladesh over the last four weeks. They told us that they fled burning villages, losing track of their family members, as they dodged gunfire and tried to escape,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children.
“I am urging world leaders to do everything in their power to end the violence in northern Rakhine State and ensure aid agencies have humanitarian access in order to save lives now.
“Across the border in Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have arrived in the last few weeks, there are enormous humanitarian needs. We urgently need more supplies like food, water, medicine and shelter. We can and we must do more.”
More than 400,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since August 25, when there was a sudden and rapid escalation of violence that has seen hundreds killed.
Hundreds of children have arrived alone, having become separated from their families in the chaos of escape or because their family members were killed.
“We are particularly concerned for children who are unaccompanied. There are reports of children who had to leave their family members in their burning homes. Children with no one to look after them are the most vulnerable, and are at increased risk of exploitation, abuse and trafficking,” Miles said.
“We are running child friendly spaces where children can have a safe space while we work to reunite them with any surviving family.
“In order to deliver vital aid like food, water, shelter and medicine to everyone in need, we need the support of the international community. We're working closely with the Bangladeshi government and are scaling up to meet this need."
Save the Children has worked in Cox’s Bazar since 2012, providing vital services to displaced children including in education and child protection.
The international humanitarian agency has distributed hundreds of shelter kits, set up Child Friendly Spaces to support children’s emotional wellbeing and is running child protection services and providing support to unaccompanied children.
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