Plan International has launched a humanitarian response in Bangladesh to support the Rohingya people fleeing violence in Myanmar.
More than 580,000 Rohingya people, the majority of them children and women, have fled their homes in Rakhine State since 25 August.
The new arrivals in Bangladesh have endured immense hardship as they made their perilous journey to Bangladesh. Many have travelled on foot through jungle, while braving monsoon rains and intense heat.
Growing risk of disease
UN agencies report that many of the new arrivals who have walked for days are already sick and malnourished. Young children and the old are at greatest risk from waterborne and contagious diseases.
Thousands are camping in the open with little or no shelter on muddy hillsides in Cox’s Bazar. They have no access to clean water or toilets. With hundreds of new arrivals every day, the challenges continue to grow.
With so many people living in such close proximity, it is essential that we get basic amenities in place as soon as possible.
Although progress has been made, there still remain huge gaps. The needs of 380,000 people are still unmet. The high concentration of displaced population living with almost no basic amenities is posing a serious risk on many levels ranging from spread of diseases to protection of children, particularly girls who remain extremely vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence. Heavy rains in the area are further exacerbating the situation, particularly affecting access in the hilly areas.
Protecting children is a priority
“We are particularly concerned for the safety and well-being of children, whose lives have been turned upside down by this crisis," said Orla Murphy, Plan International’s Country Director in Bangladesh.
“Many arriving in Cox’s Bazar have walked for days through dense jungle, arriving in Bangladesh sick, malnourished, and vulnerable to the spread of disease. With so many people living in such close proximity, it is essential that we get basic amenities in place as soon as possible.”
Lack of sanitation is a major concern for the displaced Rohingya people. In many places, one latrine is being used by 150 people. The situation is even more challenging for girls and women, some of whom are pregnant or nursing young children. Plan International has finalised more than 160 sites for installation of latrines based on consultations with Rohingya people, including girls and women.
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