Weather compounds Rohingya refugees’ woes - GulfToday

Weather compounds Rohingya refugees’ woes

Rohingya Refugees

Heavy flooding and landslides have left thousands of children and families in a dire situation.

With world attention remaining focused on other issues, the plight of Rohingya refugees remains largely ignored.

Heavy flooding and landslides in the Rohingya refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh have left thousands of children and families in an increasingly dire situation with critical infrastructure damaged or destroyed, as per the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The world community needs to do more to scale up relief efforts so as to protect the vulnerable, especially women and children.

Not only have the Rohingya Muslims faced horrific violence at the hands of Myanmar security forces in 2016 and 2017 with no accountability, but they have also been subjected to decades-long systematic discrimination in Myanmar.

Conditions in the camps and host community are deteriorating rapidly because of the brutal weather, according to Alain Balandi Domsam, acting UNICEF Bangladesh Representative, and the humanitarian needs are only likely to grow over the coming days with more downpours expected.

Vital infrastructure that children rely on such as learning centres and health facilities have been damaged or destroyed. To date, five Unicef-supported centres have been heavily damaged, with over 750 partially damaged, interrupting the education of more than 60,000 children.

The risk from waterborne diseases is also growing. At least 47 water distribution points and networks, and over 600 latrines have reportedly been affected or damaged, increasing the risk of Acute Watery Diarrhoea.

More than 26 landslides were reported in makeshift camps built on hills near the border with Myanmar. Trees there have been torn up to build huts and for firewood, leaving the terrain unstable.

Over 500,000 Rohingya children are in need of humanitarian assistance in Cox’s Bazar overall, and 80 per cent of the refugees — who fled grave human rights abuses nearly 2 years ago, carried out by Myanmar security forces — are now entirely dependent on World Food Programme’s food assistance.

The UAE, on its part, has always placed great importance on providing humanitarian and emergency relief aid to those affected by crises around the world.

The Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, has already begun implementing a new phase of its relief campaign to assist Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The aid provided by the programme included the distribution of thousands of food parcels, benefitting some 15,000 refugees in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, as well as shelter materials, clothes, cleaning supplies, and food supplements for children.

The UAE was among the first countries to respond to the Rohingya crisis, especially in response to the needs of women and children, by launching the ‘UAE for Rohingya Women and Children’ campaign.

It provided assistance in the areas of education, food, health services, water, sanitation and shelter to over 1.2 million refugees, including 720,000 children, 240,000 women and 48,000 elderly people.

In another welcome development, India on Tuesday handed over 250 houses to the displaced Muslim minorities, who are currently residing in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, under the Rakhine State Development Programme (RSDP) for $25 million for a period of five years.

India handed over 250 pre-fabricated houses for use of displaced returnees at a ceremony in Maung Daw in Rakhine State, Indian External Affairs Ministry (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar wrote on his Twitter handle.

The reality is that the Rohingya refugees face a desperate humanitarian situation. It should not reach a situation where insecurity and hopelessness set in the minds of the victims. It is the duty of the rest of humanity to wake up and extend a helping hand.