Humanitarian organizations helping Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh said on Wednesday they need $434 million over the next six months to help up to 1.2 million people, most of them children, in dire need of life-saving assistance.
There are an estimated 809,000 Rohingya sheltering in Bangladesh after fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar, more than half a million of whom have arrived since Aug. 25 to join 300,000 Rohingya who are already there.
"The Rohingya population in Cox's Bazar is highly vulnerable, many having experienced severe trauma, and are now living in extremely difficult conditions," Robert Watkins, UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh, said in a statement, referring to the area where most Rohingya are living.
Bangladesh and humanitarian organizations are struggling to help the 509,000 Rohingya who have arrived since attacks by Rohingya militants in August triggered a Myanmar military offensive that the United Nations has branded ethnic cleansing.
Myanmar rejects accusations of ethnic cleansing. It says its forces are fighting insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army [ARSA] who claimed responsibility for attacks on about 30 police posts and an army camp on Aug. 25.
The insurgents were also behind similar but smaller attacks in October last year that led to a brutal Myanmar army response triggering the flight of 87,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh.
The aid agencies' plan factors in the possibility of another 91,000 refugees arriving, as the influx continues, Watkins said.
"The plan targets 1.2 million people, including all Rohingya refugees, and 300,000 Bangladeshi host communities over the next six months," he said.
Half a million people need food while 100,000 emergency shelters are required. More than half the refugees are children, while 24,000 pregnant women need maternity care, the agencies said.
"Massive and immediate scale-up is required to save lives," they said.
"Without immediate, adequate water, sanitation and hygiene, there will be disease outbreaks."
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team