UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra has called for more support for vulnerable Rohingya refugee children and women following a four-day trip to refugee camps and informal settlements in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
“After seeing the distressing images of the Rohingya crisis unfolding last year, being here and meeting the children and families affected has helped me better understand the enormity of this crisis,” said Chopra. “Nearly 60 per cent of the more than 700,000 refugees are children, living in desperately difficult conditions – with limited access to permanent shelter, clean and safe water, food and education.”
Chopra went to the border area near Myanmar where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya women, children and men crossed following the escalation of violence in August 2017.
In a nutrition centre in Jamtoli makeshift settlement, Chopra saw children being screened for malnutrition. With 163,295 children under the age of five living in the camps, and an average 60 babies being born every day, nutrition centres offer a vital lifeline by screening and treating children for malnourishment.
They also teach new mothers breastfeeding practices to help make sure their babies have the best possible start in life during the critical first 1000-day period.
Chopra then visited a UNICEF-supported learning centre at Balukhali where she actively participated in lessons, games and songs and learned about the challenges in providing Rohingya children with education.
UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh Edouard Beigbeder said that as the crisis continues to unfold, the international community must not ignore the huge needs of Rohingya children and the new risks they face.
The Government of Bangladesh has generously taken in more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees since August 25th already and has been working with UNICEF to deliver life-saving support to the most recent and previous influxes of Rohingya refugees. Aid is also being provided to local Bangladeshis in host communities in Cox’s Bazar, UNICEF said Thursday.
Photo courtesy: UNICEF