Health Desk: 17 January 2018: The health and safety of more than 520,000 Rohingya children living in overcrowded camps and informal settlements in Bangladesh are likely to be put at even greater risk during the upcoming cyclone and monsoon seasons, UNICEF has warned.
“As we get closer to the cyclone and monsoon seasons, what is already a dire humanitarian situation risks becoming a catastrophe. Hundreds of thousands of children are already living in horrific conditions, and they will face an even greater risk of disease, flooding, landslides and further displacement,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF representative in Bangladesh.
“Unsafe water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene conditions can lead to cholera outbreaks and to Hepatitis E, a deadly disease for pregnant women and their babies while standing water pools can attract malaria-carrying mosquitos. Keeping children safe from disease must be an absolute priority,” Beigbeder added in a statement on Tuesday.
More than 4,000 suspected cases of diphtheria have been reported among the refugee population, with 32 deaths including at least 24 children.
UNICEF and partners have launched a diphtheria vaccination campaign, and are working to provide children and families with access to safe water and sanitation facilities, but overcrowding and the growing risk of extreme weather increase the risk of further outbreaks.
The Government of Bangladesh has taken in more than 650,000 Rohingya refugees since Aug 25 already and has been working with UNICEF to deliver life-saving support to the most recent and previous influxes of Rohingya refugees as well the host community in Cox’s Bazar.