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Nearly 58% of Rohingya Refugees are Kids Suffering from Severe Malnutrition, Says UN Report

The report highlights the dangers these Rohingya minors faced during the attacks when they were in Myanmar or when they were fleeing the repression to Bangladesh.

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Rohingya
Displaced Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. Wikimedia.

Bangladesh, October 20, 2017 : Nearly fifty-eight per cent of the about 600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are children who suffer from severe malnutrition, a UN report released said.

The UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) report also said that these children were highly exposed to infectious diseases, Efe news reported.

“In a sense it’s no surprise that they must truly see this place as a hell on earth,” said Simon Ingram, Unicef official and author of the report.

Titled “Outcast and Desperate: Rohingya refugee children face a perilous future” was released at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

After two weeks in Cox’s Bazar, a southern Bangladesh town where nearly 600,000 newly arrived refugees are crammed into a crowd of 200,000 Rohingyas who had fled earlier, Ingram described the situation fraught with “despair, misery and indescribable suffering”.

The report highlights the dangers these Rohingya minors faced during the attacks when they were in Myanmar or when they were fleeing the repression to Bangladesh.

The report also highlighted several drawings of children with uniformed soldiers killing people and helicopters spraying bullets from the sky.

In mid-August, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) carried out a coordinated attack on security posts in Myanmar, sparking a violent response from the military which led to thousands of Rohingyas in Rakhine state fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh.

Ingram explained that very little is known about what is happening in Rakhine, since humanitarian agencies have not been able to enter the region since August.

Most of the refugees “are already undernourished, since the repression also included the burning of food stores and the destruction of crops”, he said.

According to the Unicef estimates, one in every five children under the age of five is suffering from acute malnutrition and about 14,500 suffer severe acute malnutrition.

Ingram explained that the main danger of infectious diseases have been mitigated with the vaccination campaign against cholera, measles and polio, but much remains to be done to tackle these risks.

He added the situation worsened with the lack of clean drinking water as these children consumed only contaminated water which is another main source of infection.

With regard to child protection, the expert welcomed the fact that the number of unaccompanied children had decreased to 800, with the identification tasks carried out by the various humanitarian agencies on the ground.

Regarding sexual abuse or forced or early marriages, Ingram explained that for now they have only punctual evidence, but that it is a real risk in any situation such as in Cox’s Bazar.

What does occur relatively frequently, he said, is child labour.

In the area of protection, the essential issue is the status of these people.

Not only do they have to be recognized as refugees, but also that newborns in the countryside or along the way, he said, should be able to obtain some kind of birth certificate.

Unicef and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are negotiating with the Bangladeshi authorities the possibility of issuing birth certificates for newborn Rohingyas, but the talks are still in process.

The Rohingyas are a Muslim minority that Myanmar does not recognize as citizens and are therefore stateless. (IANS)

 

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1 in 3 Children Under the Age of 5 Undernourished or Overweight

In addition, 340 million children suffer deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals and 40 million under five were overweight or obese, a problem that has exploded in recent years

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Indians, Fatter, Undernourished
More Indians are getting fatter but fewer are undernourished as the nation goes from lessening the impact of hunger to developing the new health issue of obesity. (Representational image). Pixabay

At least one in every three children under five years of age is undernourished or overweight, according to a new Unicef report that sounds the alarm on the consequences of poor diets around the world.

In the report published on Monday, the Unicef warned that millions of children were eating too little of the food they need and too much of what they don’t need, adding “poor diets are now the main risk factor for the global burden of disease”, reports Efe news.

The result, according to Unicef, is that many of them are at risk of poor brain development, learning problems, poor immunity and increased infections and disease.

“Millions of children subsist on an unhealthy diet because they simply do not have a better choice,” said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

malnutrition
Experts demand actions against poor diets to eradicate any ways of malnutrition by 2030, a global goal set by the Agenda for Sustainable Development. Pixabay

The report described the triple burden of malnutrition: undernutrition, hidden hunger and overweight.

In 2018, according to Unicef data, 149 million children under five years of age worldwide were stunted, and just under 50 million were wasted.

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Contrary to common belief, most wasted children were concentrated in Asia rather than in countries facing emergencies.

In addition, 340 million children suffer deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals and 40 million under five were overweight or obese, a problem that has exploded in recent years. (IANS)