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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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Displaced Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. Wikimedia.
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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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Ebola Increases The Number of Orphans in DRC: UNICEF

WHO reports progress is being made in limiting the spread of the deadly virus in some areas.

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A boy runs past a dispenser containing water mixed with disinfectant, east of Mbandaka, DRC. VOA

The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports a growing number of children in eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo orphaned by the Ebola outbreak in the region are at risk of stigmatization and abandonment.

UNICEF reports a number of children have died from the disease. Others, it says, have lost one or both parents to Ebola or have been left to fend for themselves while their parents are confined in Ebola treatment centers.

UNICEF spokesman, Christophe Boulierac, says his and other aid agencies so far have identified 155 children who have been orphaned or separated from their parents with no one to care for them. He says these children are extremely vulnerable.

Ebola Congo, WHO
Photo taken Sept 9, 2018, shows health workers walking with a boy suspected of having the Ebola virus at an Ebola treatment centre in Beni, Eastern Congo. VOA

“Children who lose a parent due to Ebola are at risk of being stigmatized, isolated or abandoned, in addition to the experience of losing a loved one or primary caregiver.”

Boulierac says UNICEF worries about the physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of these orphaned and separated children. He says his agency is tailoring its assistance programs to meet the specific needs of each individual child.

“For instance, a new-born who has lost his mother has different needs than a school-aged child. Our support to an orphaned or unaccompanied child typically includes psycho-social care, food and material assistance, and support to reintegrate into school,” Boulierac said.

Ebola, WHO, UNICEF
Congolese health workers register people and take their temperatures before they are vaccinated against Ebola in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

Ebola was declared on August 1 in the DRC’s conflict-ridden North Kivu and Ituri provinces. This is the 10th outbreak in the DRC since Ebola was first identified in 1976. Latest estimates by the World Health Organization find 147 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola in the eastern part of the country, including 97 deaths.

Also Read: Progress Has Been Made in Containing Ebola In Congo: WHO

WHO reports progress is being made in limiting the spread of the deadly virus in some areas. But, it warns the epidemic is far from over and much work to combat the disease lies ahead. (VOA)