Cox’s Bazar /Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 20 February 2018 – More than 380,000 children risk losing their future as the situation in southeast Bangladesh threatens to become a prolonged crisis.

“Boys and girls have escaped terrible violence in Myanmar, managed to travel on foot or by boat to safety in Bangladesh and are now surviving in inadequate, overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar, entirely dependent on humanitarian aid. With an uncertain future and no solutions in sight, the world must not let these children lose their future,” says Md Feroz Salah Uddin, Secretary General, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.

Six months after the 25 August 2017 clashes that triggered the exodus of 688,000 people from Myanmar, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has reached 254,000 people with life-saving emergency assistance including shelter materials, food, water and healthcare including emotional support for adults and children. Humanitarian agencies, the government, host communities and displaced people have worked together to improve and stabilize the situation. But in the absence of a political solution, the future is unclear.

IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy says, “Life is incredibly tough for everyone, but children and adolescents are especially vulnerable. Children lack support to cope with violence they have experienced or witnessed. They face malnutrition and disease, a lack of opportunities for education and training, trafficking and exploitation, and a looming monsoon and cyclone season. UNHCR estimates that 7,600 children are trying to cope on their own, separated from their families. No child should bear the brunt of such a crisis created by adults.”

The situation is fragile. The coming monsoon and cyclone season or a disease outbreak could trigger a disaster within a disaster.

To help protect children and their families in the displaced and host communities, the Red Cross Red Crescent is prioritising contingency planning and preparedness to respond to new challenges, and building community resilience to threats including disease, cyclones and the monsoon, along with continued humanitarian assistance for 200,000 people.

The scale and speed of the displacement and the severe vulnerability of many of those displaced has created one of the most critical and complex humanitarian crises in the Asia Pacific region in decades.

 

About IFRC

IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.

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About the BDRCS

The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) is the leading national humanitarian organization in Bangladesh that can mobilize the power of humanity to prevent and reduce human suffering. 

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Media contacts

For more information, contact:

In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh:

Lynette Nyman +88 018 3454 9873, lynette.nyman@ifrc.org, @lynettenyman

Nidhi Dutt, +91 987 111 0081, nidhi.dutt@ifrc.org

Khaleda Akhter (Laboni) +8801717 535669, khaleda.akhter@bdrcs.org

In Kuala Lumpur: Rosemarie North, +60 122 308 451, rosemarie.north@ifrc.org, @RosemarieNorth

In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, +41 792 518 039, matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org, @mahatmat