This is one of the most sudden and intense humanitarian crises in history. Since late August 2017, over 800, 000 Rohingya people have fled violence in the Rakhine State in Myanmar. They’ve come to neighbouring Bangladesh – a country ill-equipped to cope. More than 60% are women and children, and more people are arriving every day. Sadly, it’s estimated that 500,000 Rohingya have either witnessed or suffered sexual violence.
Families with young children have trekked through difficult terrain in monsoon weather. Children are traumatised, and many are orphaned or alone after being separated from their parents in the chaos.
Women and children are in dangerThe Rohingya people are living in hot, wet and overcrowded conditions. Most are in unhygienic makeshift tents and shelters in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh, close to the Myanmar border.
- Women are girls are waiting until dark to go in privacy in the jungle, but this exposes them to attacks and sexual violence
- Adolescent girls and women have no means of maintaining menstrual hygiene
- With no sanitation and hygiene, life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea and cholera can strike.
- Children urgently need safe places where they are protected from the abuse and exploitation that often occurs in these crises. They’re also missing out on their education, and with that a chance to break out of poverty.
How you can help
The scale of this humanitarian crisis is enormous and unlikely to be resolved quickly. We are working hard to help children and families recover and respond, both now and in the long term.
- Build latrines so people, particular women and girls. can go to the toilet in safety
- Construct sanitation facilities to halt the spread of disease
- Identify and register unaccompanied children so that they don’t become invisible
- Run education sessions about hygiene and avoiding waterborne diseases
- Create safe spaces where women and children can be protected from violence, exploitation and neglect.
Rahana, 14 Lost her father to violence in Myanmar and is now worried about her own safety. “Here, there is only one latrine and that is down the hill. It is the only public toilet and all are unknown faces, so we try to wait until night-time to relieve ourselves in the jungle” she says.