MORE THAN half of the Rohingya people who have fled Myanmar are children. They have fled from the danger of being killed to the danger of dying. As the world prevaricates, Human Aid is trying to keep them alive.
In the camps, children splash through the dirty water and human waste that covers the muddy ground because of the lack of sanitation facilities. Many of the children are ill as a consequence – with diarrhoea, or worse. Dysentry and cholera are lurking. There’s not enough food, water or medicine.
Most of the refugees ran for their lives and the chaos of the process and the dangers of the journey have led to many children losing one or both parents on the way to “safety”. It is thought that 14% of the Rohingya refugees are single mothers.
There is no one to protect lone children from the traffickers who comb the camps for new victims. Estimates suggest there are 40,000 children with only one parent or none. It’s no wonder that Red Cross official Elhadj As Sy has called this situation a “crisis of children”.
Yet still the Rohingya are coming. Still they are fleeing Myanmar. The UN has recently revealed reports that refugees clustered on the sea shore, trying to reach Bangladesh, are living in even worse conditions, with an almost total absence of food and no access to clean water. There’s nowhere to bury the dead and no one to do it and the dead bodies that will spread more fatal diseases.
Those who do escape do not necessarily survive the sea journey to the shores of Bangladesh, made on makeshift rafts or flimsy boats.
•Human Appeal is trying to do what it can to bring relief to a desperate people. For more information about how to donate to this charity, go to: