DHAKA : The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has said it expects a further 200,000 new arrivals in Bangladesh from Myanmar in coming weeks- bringing the total Rohingya population to over one million – only exacerbating an already unimaginable humanitarian crisis, reports UNB.
A recent nutrition survey conducted by humanitarian agencies in Cox’s Bazar, led by International Rescue Committee partner Action Contre la Faim (ACF), has revealed shocking levels of malnutrition amongst Rohingya children, only further deepening fears of an impending, and very serious, public health crisis awaiting the world’s most vulnerable group of refugees.
The survey revealed a severe acute malnutrition rate of 7.5%, nearly four times the international emergency level and 10 times higher than last year, according to the New York-based IRC.
With a global malnutrition rate of nearly 25%, this means that a quarter of Rohingya children between six months and five years of age – almost 40,000 – are already malnourished and in urgent need of life-saving help.
The IRC is especially concerned for children under six months, who also face a tenfold increase in mortality based on the circumference of their arms.
The IRC additionally expects malnutrition rates to be even higher as the humanitarian community comes to grips with the full scale of need, including thousands of new arrivals in dire conditions.
These findings only substantiate the IRC’s latest, and alarming, needs assessment in Cox’s Bazar, which raised the alarm regarding extreme food insecurity, with nearly three-quarters of the population lacking enough food, as well as unsanitary living conditions, with 95% of the population drinking contaminated water – especially as agencies report that two-thirds of Cox’s Bazar’s water is contaminated with feces.
“The conditions we are seeing in Cox’s Bazaar create a perfect storm for a public health crisis on an unimaginable scale. Extremely vulnerable families with unmet health needs, high levels of food insecurity, limited access to health services and appalling conditions for hygiene, sanitation and access to clean drinking water – all of which contribute to these awfully high rates of malnutrition,” said Cat Mahony, the IRC’s emergency response director in Cox’s Bazar.