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Rohingyas in Bangladesh: 2 months after the start of the exodus, the situation is still critical

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Government of Canada launches Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund

Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced that for every eligible donation made by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities between August 25 and November 28, 2017, the Government of Canada will contribute an equivalent amount to the Fund.

“Bangladesh is now hosting the world’s biggest refugee camp where over 900 000 Rohingya and other minorities are fleeing the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. I encourage all Canadians to donate to the organization of their choice. Your donation will save lives and will allow them to be treated with dignity until they can return home.” Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

To learn more about the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund, visit the Global Affairs Canada website:

http://www.international.gc.ca/gac-amc/campaign-campagne/myanmar/index.aspx?lang=eng

Rohingya crisis worsening

Two months after the first outbreak of violence in Rakhine State (Myanmar), the influx of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh continues to grow. Over 604,000 persons have now crossed the Bangladeshi border. Action Against Hunger, present in Bangladesh alongside the vulnerable populations since the first tensions were felt, is sounding the alarm: the camps have become over-populated, the living conditions they offer are appalling and the risks resulting from the health crisis are extremely acute. The most severely affected are the children under the age of 18, who now account for over 54% of the refugees. An emergency response is needed, but it must also come along with long-term and durable solutions.

“What we have seen in both countries is very disturbing. The levels of suffering that have led to such a rapid and massive displacement of population are enormous. ” Paula Tenaglia, Director of Operations, Action Against Hunger

Children are the main victims of violence

In two months’ time, the Rohingya population has gone through nothing less than an exodus. The number of refugees having fled the outburst of violence in the Rakhine State in Myanmar continues to grow day after day. Amongst the 604,000 displaced persons, there are said to be approximately 320 000 children under the age of 18. Some come alone and are often starved, having suffered severe losses. In the camps, particularly high levels of acute severe malnutrition have been observed in these young children: Action Against Hunger has screened more than 175,000 children under the age of five and already admitted some 22,000 cases of severe and moderate acute malnutrition. These children, along with more than 8,500 pregnant and breastfeeding women, have been admitted to our nutrition program to receive all the help they require. Nonetheless, in some of the sites that have spontaneously emerged, there is no access to water and sanitation facilities, raising the risks of an outbreak of disease.

WORKING AT BREAKNECK PACE TO ALLEVIATE SUFFERING

Action Against Hunger’s immediate priorities are to save lives and alleviate suffering through the following interventions.

  • Daily distributions of food and water: Every day, Action Against Hunger’s mobile teams are delivering more than 83,000 hot meals and 551,479 liters of safe water to Rohingya refugees in camps and other locations.
  • Emergency health care and lifesaving treatment for acute malnutrition: Our emergency teams have also conducted malnutrition screenings for more than 100,000 children and diagnosed over 11,000 malnourished children whom we have referred for admission into our emergency nutrition programs through mobile clinics and in partnership 90 local government-run community health clinics.
  • Preventing outbreaks of waterborne disease and improving sanitation: Action Against Hunger is the lead humanitarian NGO collaborating with the UN to provide emergency water, sanitation and hygiene interventions to prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases.
  • Mental health “first aid”: Action Against Hunger has deployed psychologists and mental health counselors to provide psychological first aid to more than 20,000 newly arrived refugees whose health and well-being has been impacted by the trauma, violence, shock, and acute stress.
  • Scaling up frontline emergency teams: The organization has mobilized 400 humanitarian staff and more than 500 community volunteers to Cox’s Bazar to respond to the emergency.

Action Against Hunger has been working in Bangladesh since 2007 in response to Cyclone Sidr. The organization launched programs in Cox’s Bazar in 2008, well before the recent influx of refugees from Myanmar, and is one of few major direct frontline humanitarian responders in Cox’s Bazar that was already fully operational and able to scale up significantly to meet the rising level of needs.

 

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