The Rohingya crisis has not seen its end. Rohingyas are still fleeing Myanmar and seeking refuge in other countries to outrun the military operations against them.
As the crisis continues to mount, an aid agency has reported that some 48,000 babies will be born this year in the overcrowded, unsanitary camps for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
Aid agency Save the Children warns that if born in such squalid tents, the babies will be at increased risk of disease and malnutrition, and of dying before age 5.
“The camps have poor sanitation and are a breeding ground for diseases like diphtheria, measles and cholera, to which newborn babies are particularly vulnerable,” said Rachael Cummings, the agency’s health adviser.
“This is no place for a child to be born,” said Cummings.
More than 650,000 Rohingya have fled what the United Nations calls “a campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar military and mobs” since August last year in Rakhine state in western Myanmar.
The UNICEF has said almost 60 per cent of them are children.
A Bangladeshi official called the projection of 48,000 babies mind-boggling.“Simply, this will be disastrous and terrible for us,” said Priton Kumar Chowdhury, a deputy director of the government’s social services department.
“I can’t imagine it, and my brain does not actually know how to deal with this,” said Chowdhury, whose department has identified more than 36,000 orphans in the camps.
Save the Children based its projection of new births on an estimate of how many of the refugees were pregnant.
Bangladesh has been negotiating with Myanmar to set up a protocol for the voluntary return of the Rohingya, but it remains unclear if they will return, given concerns for their safety.