In 2018, UNICEF extended lifesaving services to over 1.2 million people affected by the crisis. This included 380,000 people provided with access to safe drinking water; 20,000 children under 5 treated for severe acute malnutrition; and 1,235,475 people over 1 year old who received oral cholera vaccine.
More than half of Rohingya refugee children aged 4 to 14 have now been engaged in non-formal basic education by UNICEF and the Education Sector. UNICEF reached 145,209 Rohingya children in 2018 with support from 4,028 trained teachers.
UNICEF and the Department of Social Services launched an integrated case management and cash assistance programme in June 2018, benefitting 4,200 children and 3,000 foster caregivers.
Comprehensive preparedness and mitigation measures taken with both government and NGO partners in advance of the monsoon in June 2018 resulted in no major epidemics or outbreaks. Actions such as chlorination of water points, intensive C4D messaging, relocating at-risk facilities and establishing mechanisms to reunite children separated during extreme rain, were some of the measures taken.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
The general election on 30 December 2018 passed without any major security incidents affecting the Rohingya refugee response. Awami League and her allies won a majority in parliament and Sheikh Hasina has been reelected as Prime Minister. Security risk mitigation measures put in place around the elections, including restriction on travel to the camps, slowed some components of UNICEF’s response over the past month; these have since resumed. UNICEF contingency measures ensured that lifesaving services were not affected by the restrictions.
An increased number of cases of Chicken Pox have been reported from refugee camps starting in December 2018. UNICEF, WHO and other partners, as part of the Health Sector, are working to prevent further transmission and increase community awareness of this contagious disease. The Health Sector is also working with the Education Sector to increase awareness among teachers and parents.
The 2019 JRP is currently under review by government at the national level. UNICEF has finalized its Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal for next year. The 2019 HAC has included the requirements under the JRP along with broader support to the affected host communities, and emergency preparedness and response nationwide.
Following the attempted initial repatriation by the Myanmar and Bangaldesh Governments’ last November, not a single refugee expressed interest to voluntarily return to Myanmar. UNICEF supports UNHCR’s stance on repatriation which is, “upon the free and informed decision by refugees, on an individual basis, to return”, however it is clear from the humanitarian and international community that the conditions are not there for repatriation to Myanmar.