Erin Taylor 267-250-8829
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (December 21, 2017)— Rohingya children in the
camps and makeshift settlements in Bangladesh urgently need warm
clothes and blankets as overnight temperatures drop with the onset of winter,
Save the Children is warning.
January and February are
Bangladesh’s coldest months with night time temperatures falling as low as
50 degrees Fahrenheit, yet in the camps it is common to see barefooted
children wearing only thin cotton clothing, shorts and t-shirts. Most sleep on the floor in poorly
constructed bamboo structures with nothing but flimsy plastic sheeting and very
thin blankets to protect them from the cold at night.
As winter temperatures continue to
drop, fears are growing that we could see more children, many of whom have
already been weakened by malnutrition, suffer from illnesses such as upper
Khaleda*, an 11-year-old girl
from an 11-person family in Balukhali camp told Save the Children: "It is
very difficult to sleep because it is very cold at night. We have no
option but to sleep on the mattress on the dirt floor. And we have only
four blankets, two for girls, two for boys but it is not sufficient for
us all. The roof is always dripping water in the morning from the
mist, so it makes everything wet."
A recent survey of 200
children in the camps revealed that many are very cold at night. A 16-year-old
boy consulted for the survey in Kutupalong camp
told Save the Children: "We do not have any warm clothes to wear. We also
do not have any blankets. So we are suffering from the cold weather and are
getting coughs and fever.”
Save the Children
will distribute winter kits to 7,000 families (31,000 people) by the end
of December in preparation for the coldest winter months. Winter kits
contain blankets, shawls for adults, children’s pullovers, slippers for
adults and children as well as a floor mat.
“Our focus is to reach
the most vulnerable children and women,” said Bishnu Prasad Gotame, Save
the Children’s shelter expert in Bangladesh. “The winter kits will be
given to people with chronic illnesses, people with disabilities, families with
pregnant women, infants and families with elderly people.”
Since the end of August 655,000 Rohingya have fled
extreme violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State to the camps in
Bangladesh. Many of them fled with only their clothes on their backs.
Of those that have fled an estimated 378,000 are children, with one in
four children under five suffering acute malnutrition.
"We are in the
winter season here and overnight temperatures can fall as low as 50
degrees. While that is mild compared to winter temperatures in other
regions of the world,
the lack of warm clothing and flimsy shelter make the
conditions difficult for people in the camps, especially children,”
explained Maria Tsolka, Save the Children's Unit leading health specialist
based in Cox's Bazar.
“Many of the children
have weakened immune systems too and that makes them vulnerable to illnesses
such as upper respiratory infections. We are concerned for children forced
to sleep in flimsy bamboo structures covered in a thin layer of plastic
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