The wellbeing of more than 500,000 Rohingya children is in danger as a result of cuts to food aid to refugee camps in Bangladesh, Save the Children has warned.
In the world’s most populated refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, the Rohingya live on just $0.27 a day following funding cuts by the World Food Programme (WFP). This is particularly harmful as the Rohingya are banned from working or leaving the camps.
Zia, a 12-year-old Rohingya refugee whose name has been changed, said: “Last time I had fruit was three months ago […] We can only afford chicken once a month.”
Mahbuba, whose name has also been changed to protect her identity, details her struggle with food insecurity, saying: “When I go to collect rice from the food assistance outlets, I feel like crying at having such a tiny amount.”
The cuts have worsened the already dire living situation of the Rohingya people, Save the Children warned, adding that 45 per cent of Rohingya families were not eating a sufficient diet and malnutrition was widespread in the camps, while 40 per cent of children experienced stunted growth. Children suffer the most from these cuts, Save the Children explained, due to the physical abuse and pressure to join gangs the environment of poverty created. It added that physical abuse was involved in a quarter of all cases relating to child safeguarding.
Save the Children Country Director in Bangladesh, Shaheen Chughtai, called for an international effort to relieve the situation, saying: “The UN’s humanitarian response plan for the Rohingya refugees is only 30 per cent funded.”
This is a children’s crisis, and those children are in danger of becoming a lost generation. They cannot remain stateless and unprotected, living their lives in isolated limbo.
Over 750,000 Muslim RohingyA have fled neighbouring Myanmar to Bangladesh since 2017, escaping genocide and mistreatment from the military according to Human Rights Watch.