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Author Picture By - Sep 27, 2017

The head of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, recently asked a group of Rohingya mothers at a makeshift refugee camp in Bangladesh what their children needed the most. Their response: “Everything.”

In the past month alone, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that 480,000 Rohingya people have fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State – what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”– and crossed into Bangladesh. In total, over 700,000 Rohingya refugees are believed to be living in Bangladesh.

The need for shelter, food, health care, education, and other vital aid is enormous. Heavy rain has flooded shelters, and, combined with poor sanitation, increased the risk for disease outbreaks.

Secretary-General António Guterres plans to brief the UN Security Council on the violence taking place in Myanmar on Thursday, September 28. The UN Migration Agency, IOM, and other UN humanitarian agencies and partners are working with the government of Bangladesh to respond, including by providing food, sanitation, tent supplies, health care, and other tools essential to survival to refugee camps in southern Bangladesh.

Yet humanitarian needs are outpacing the capacity and resources to respond. According to OCHA, the UN initially appealed for US$77 million to help more than 300,000 Rohingya refugees. This plan is being revised upwards as more refugees arrive and humanitarian needs increase.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

DONATE: To help provide resources for humanitarian partners to provide life-saving aid to people in emergencies, including the Rohingya, you can donate to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the UN’s Myanmar Humanitarian Fund.

RAISE YOUR VOICE: Talk to your friends, family, and social media networks about what is happening, why more support is needed, and how they can get involved. We need to make sure this crisis gets the international attention it needs, so vulnerable families can get the support they need.

MORE ON THE UN RESPONSE

UN agencies have taken the following steps, among others:

• IOM is working with the government of Bangladesh and humanitarian partners to respond to needs, including supporting health services and mobile health clinics, installing emergency latrines, bringing in water, and distributing tarpsCERF has released $7 million to urgently help Rohingya fleeing violence.

• CERF has released $7 million to urgently help Rohingya fleeing violence.

• UNHCR is working to get refugees into emergency shelter and to extend the Kutupalong camp to accommodate the growing number of refugees. The agency is also providing plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, sleeping mats, solar lamps, and other suppliesStaff from the World Health Organization (WHO) have arrived in Bangladesh to find ways to fight against the increased risk of disease due to overcrowding and flooding. The organization has also provided about 20,000 people with water purification tablets.

• Staff from the World Health Organization (WHO) have arrived in Bangladesh to find ways to fight against the increased risk of disease due to overcrowding and flooding. The organization has also provided about 20,000 people with water purification tablets.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has delivered 100 tons of supplies including water purifying tablets, family hygiene kits, sanitary materials, plastic tarpaulins, and recreational kits for children, with more supplies on the way. UNICEF is also expanding child-friendly spaces, working to protect unaccompanied children, and addressing children’s health issues.The World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered

• The World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered high energy biscuits to refugees as they arrive in shelters and provided rice for people and community kitchens, which. deliver meals to about 5,300 people per day. WFP has given nutritious porridge to 5,000 mothers and children who have come to Bangladesh hungry and malnourished.The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has deployed midwives and set up safe spaces for women in Cox’s Bazar District. UNFPA has reported 67% of the Rohingya arrivals are women and girls and 13% are pregnant or breastfeeding. Midwives are also responding to sexual violence medical needs. Dignity kits comprising of sanitary supplies, childbirth tools, and postnatal care are being distributed in the shelter camp.

• The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has deployed midwives and set up safe spaces for women in Cox’s Bazar District. UNFPA has reported 67% of the Rohingya arrivals are women and girls and 13% are pregnant or breastfeeding. Midwives are also responding to sexual violence medical needs. Dignity kits comprising of sanitary supplies, childbirth tools, and postnatal care are being distributed in the shelter camp.

Photo: Azam Sheikh Ali Haider / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017)

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