The humanitarian situation for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh remains dire, with some 613,000 newly arrived refugees since 25 August 2017, and daily arrivals totalling up to 2,000 persons each day at various entry points along the border.
As of 8 November, 419 cases of suspected measles had been reported, of which 356 meet clinical case definition. Of these, 56 received vaccinations against measles.
To mitigate the high risk of communicable diseases, in the past week UNICEF reached 199,472 children aged 6-59 months with the oral cholera vaccine and 236,696 children with the oral polio vaccine.
Since 25 August, with UNICEF support, a total of 88,703 children under-five have been screened for malnutrition, and out of 4,405 children identified with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), 3,596 children received treatment in the last week. This is significant in light of last week’s survey indicating rates of severe acute malnutrition as high as 7.5 per cent among refugee children.
UNICEF is encountering significant challenges, including lack of funding and physical access constraints to some of the locations; UNICEF has received only 33 per cent of the US$76 million requested to provide immediate lifesaving humanitarian assistance to affected children and women.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The influx of Rohingya refugees from northern parts of Myanmar’s Rakhine State into Bangladesh restarted following attacks at Myanmar Border Guard Police posts on 25 August 2017. As of 9 November, the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) reported that 613,0001 Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh since the attacks. According to ISCG’s rapid needs assessment, 58 per cent of new arrivals are children and 60 per cent are women including a high number of pregnant (3 per cent) and lactating women (7 per cent). With the new influx, the current total number of Rohingya who have fled from Myanmar into Bangladesh, coupled with the affected population in the communities, has reached a staggering 1.2 million2 . There are 720,000 children among the new arrivals, existing Rohingya populations and vulnerable host communities who are affected and need urgent humanitarian assistance including critical life-saving interventions.
The inter-agency Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2017-18 identified the areas of WASH, health, nutrition and food security and shelter for immediate scale-up to save lives in both settlements and host communities. As per the HRP, the Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar is highly vulnerable, many having experienced severe trauma, and are now living in extremely difficult conditions. The limited WASH facilities in the refugee established settlements, put in place by WASH sector partners including UNICEF prior to the current influx, are over-stretched, with an average of 100 people per latrine. New arrivals also have limited access to bathing facilities, especially women, and urgently require WASH supplies including soap and buckets. Given the current population density and poor sanitation and hygiene conditions, any outbreak of cholera or Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD), which are endemic in Bangladesh, could kill thousands of people residing in temporary settlements. Urgent nutrition needs have been prioritized for children aged under five (including infants), pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girls. These include close to 17,000 children under five suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) to be supported over the next six months. Nutrition sector partners plan to cover 70 per cent of the identified needs in the makeshift and new settlements, host communities and official camps. Moreover, children, adolescents and women in both the Rohingya and host communities are exposed to high levels of violence, abuse and exploitation including sexual harassment, child labour and child marriage and are at high risk of being trafficked. Finally, an estimated 450,000 total Rohingya children aged 4-18 years old are in need of education services.