UNICEF Emergency Response in Bangladesh
By admin October 16, 2017

Since August 25th over 400,000 Rohingya refugees, of whom 240,000 are children, have fled the Rakhine State in Myanmar into Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh. To meet demands in humanitarian requests, UNICEF first sent emergency supplies to Dhaka, Bangladesh for several thousands of Rohingya children and families in late September. In a statement given to the U.S. News and World Report, Patrick Murphy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia indicated Washington had been in discussion to call Myanmar’s military and civilian leaders for urgent restoration of access to the Rakhine state. However, the financial costs are exceeding original budgeted intentions and UNICEF leaders are appealing for larger amounts.

According to a press release on October 2nd, UNICEF is appealing for $76.1 million USD for emergency humanitarian aid. The funds are expected to help cover the needs of newly arrived Rohingya children as well as those already in the country. In total, the funds are expected to help 720,000 children affected by the exodus and forced to live in unsanitary conditions in Cox’s Bazar.

In a statement given to UNICEF, Executive Director Anthony Lake on a trip to southern Bangladesh said: “Desperate, traumatized children and their families are fleeing the violence in Myanmar every day. We are scaling up our response as fast as we can, but the magnitude of need is immense and we must be able do more to help them. These children are being denied a childhood. They need our help now and they need our help to have a future.” The unsanitary conditions in the makeshift camps and settlements are further concerns in the humanitarian response to prevent public health outbreaks.

In mid-October, an oral cholera vaccination campaign for all children over the age of one is currently planned. The 900,000 doses of vaccines are expected to have arrived in Bangladesh on October 7th. The campaign, being jointly run by the Ministry of Health and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, will be held in Ukhiya and Teknaf where over 500,000 of the refugees currently reside. The first round of the campaign will cover 650,000 people aged one year and older followed by a second round campaign beginning October 31st targeting 250,000 children between the ages of one to five years old.

Among other features of UNICEF appeal, the response plan is expected to provide safer water and sanitation for up to 50 percent of the target population with a priority on the most vulnerable children at risk of disease. UNICEF is also working to increase access to resources on water handling and related information to households. The provisions will also work to meet the nutritional needs of at least 60 percent of approximately 7,500 children suffering from acute malnutrition. UNICEF will also reach 70 percent of children with micronutrient support, including Vitamin A. The funding will provide child protection services for up to 180,000 children as well as expand its network of adolescent centers to provide life-skills training, recreational activities, and psychosocial support.

While the Rohingya Crisis has exacerbated the need for a global humanitarian response to strengthening international peace, the steps taken by UNICEF to increase emergency funding is a step towards this direction to meeting the demands of newly arrived refugees.

Related Readings

UNICEF appeals for US$76.1 million to assist children affected by the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh

Rohingya refugee children: UNICEF emergency response in Bangladesh
Exodus of Rohingya to Bangladesh Reaches 270,000 – UNHCR

Oral cholera vaccination campaign kicks off at Rohingya camps in Bangladesh

Can ASEAN Help End the Rohingya Crisis?

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