UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children | Bangladesh: Rohingya Influx, 2017-2018
Renewed violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State which began on 25 August 2017 has driven hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people – a long-time discriminated minority group in Myanmar – across the border into Bangladesh Cox’s Bazar district. As of 17 October, the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) reported that an estimated 582,0001 people have entered Bangladesh. With this new influx, the current total number of Rohingya refugees coupled with the local affected communities, has reached over 1.2 million people. It is estimated that 80 per cent of the new arrivals are children and women.
In total, 720,000 children need urgent humanitarian assistance (including influx and host communities). In addition, between 150,000 and 200,000 additional Rohingya could be making their way from Myanmar to Bangladesh by end 2017 as the refugee movement is not over yet. Access to safe water and sanitation is a key priority. The nutrition situation is also of great concern: new arrivals are from areas in Myanmar where 2016 health survey data shows a high 3.7 per cent rate of severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Some 348,000 Rohingya children need psychosocial support and protection services, while 450,000 children - 270,000 of them newly arrived - need education services. A total of 1.2 million people are in need of health services.
UNICEF revised response plan has prioritized life-saving interventions to address immediate and urgent needs of affected Rohingya children, women and adolescents. With support from donors, UNICEF is working closely with key humanitarian actors at the national and sub-national level, including with Government line ministries. Immediate provision of safe water, basic sanitation and washing facilities is a priority. UNICEF and partners have developed a preparedness and response plan for Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) including a mass vaccination campaign for cholera prevention. To address malnutrition, UNICEF will treat children with acute malnutrition through community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) using ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). Nutrition and WASH will be systematically integrated in all education and child protection interventions through learning and child-friendly spaces and adolescent clubs. UNICEF will provide child protection services including psychosocial support and identification and case management of unaccompanied and separated children. Non-formal basic education will be provided to children aged 4-14 years. Efforts in social protection will focus on removing the economic barriers of access to services for families with increased vulnerabilities such as child-headed households. UNICEF leads the coordination of the Nutrition sector and Child Protection sub-sector, co-leads the WASH sector with Action against Hunger and the Education sector with Save the Children.
As of 17 October 2017, UNICEF has received only US$5.6 million against the appeal of US$76.1 million. With the recent large and continuing influx, UNICEF has allocated additional internal resources to scale up its emergency response. Since 25 August UNICEF has reached a total of 101,100 people with clean water, close to 137,000 with appropriate latrines and washing facilities and over 17,000 with key message on hygiene practices. For prevention of diseases, over 135,000 children (6 months-15 years) were vaccinated against measles, rubella and polio. A prevention cholera campaign was also launched on 10 October. So far, more than 670,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine (OCV) have been administered to people over one year of age. A second round of vaccination will target approximately 250,000 children (aged 1-5 years). Nearly 1,000 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition; over 4,300 pregnant and lactating women received infant and young child feeding counselling support; more than 69,500 children and pregnant and lactating women received micronutrient supplementation; nearly 27,000 children received psychosocial support and child protection services through Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) and Adolescent Safe Spaces; and over 5,000 children are attending UNICEF-supported learning centres.