(WASHINGTON) — Nearly 450,000 Rohingya refugee children are in urgent need of assistance and the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar continues to become more dire, according to a new report from the International Rescue Committee.
Up to 300,000 more Rohingya are expected to flee the violence in Myanmar over the coming weeks, seeking shelter in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.
Myanmar’s military has retaliated against the Rohingya population after Rohingya militants launched two deadly attacks against the country’s security forces.
UNICEF said Rohingya children are crossing into Bangladesh at a rate of 1,200 to 1,800 per day, frequently suffering from exhaustion and malnutrition and without necessary vaccinations. Most end up in overcrowded settlements that lack sanitation and safe water. Shelters are often just plastic sheeting over bamboo poles, but many are forced to live in the open.
“They also need help in overcoming all they have endured. They need education. They need counseling. They need hope. If we don’t provide them with these things now, how will they ever grow up to be productive citizens of their societies?” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in the report. “This crisis is stealing their childhoods. We must not let it steal their futures at the same time.”
The Rohingya are an ethnic minority in Myanmar who have a long history of persecution. Refugees arriving into Bangladesh describe harrowing accounts of killings, rapes and entire villages being burned to the ground, according to the UN.
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