‘60pc of Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar are children’

‘60pc of Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar are children’

SAM Staff,
Almost 70,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since October (AFP)

Many of the unaccompanied children are highly distressed or traumatised as they have been through a dreadful experience while fleeing Myanmar and travelling long distances to Bangladesh through rain and mud.

Many became orphans when their parents were killed, often in front of their own eyes. These children are the most vulnerable and at high risk of trafficking, child labour, sexual abuse and other threats, said a press release of Save the Children.

According to UNICEF, there are almost 1800 unaccompanied children reported till September 30, who are either separated from their parents or lost their parents in the violence.

Save the Children has been registering unaccompanied and separated children at both Kutupalong and Nayapara registered camps. A total of 726 children have been identified at Kutupalong alone as of October 2. Of them, there are 409 girls and 317 boys, living in extremely difficult conditions.

The international aid agency is working to accommodate these children in “Child-Friendly Spaces” located at Kutupalong in Cox’s Bazar, where the children can stay and play safe.

“I don’t know where my parents are, I came here alone after walking miles. Now I am staying here and playing carom and other games with my new friends” said Rozi, an eight-year-old girl who is staying in a child safe space, operated by Save the Children.

“A number of children would require long-term support to recover wholly from the trauma and distress they have experienced,” said Jamal Uddin, Project Officer of Save the Children working at Kutupalong. Early childhood development and educational interventions for this large segment of young arrivals are needed, Jamal further added.

With the support of UNICEF, Save the Children is going to establish another 30 child-friendly spaces in order to cater to the needs of children from newly arrived communities. Due to the large number of unaccompanied children, more child-friendly spaces are required, the agency stressed.