“The route to school gets slippery,” says Rashidullah. Monsoon rains aren’t enough to keep Rashidullah from the UNICEF Learning Center.Meet Rashidullah
“I had never heard of vaccination,” says Mustapha. But thanks to UNICEF, all her children are now vaccinated.Meet Mustapha
“When I dance and sing I am most happy,” says Sehera. She attends one of the 795 UNICEF learning centers.Meet Sehera
This is a story no child should tell. Yet, it’s an all-too-familiar one in the Bangladesh refugee settlements, where UNICEF is helping Rohingya survivors of what UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has deemed “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Now, Umme and hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Rohingya children like her are living in the path of a looming threat. As cyclone season approaches, the overcrowded temporary settlements they call home could be swept away, subjecting the 900,000 refugees already requiring humanitarian assistance to even greater risk.
Situated on cleared land that has become increasingly congested since the crisis began, refugees' tents perch on barren hillsides that heavy rains could turn to mud, causing landslides and flooding. If severe, monsoon season rains could destroy the camps’ sanitation infrastructure and contaminate the water supply, leaving children with weakened immune systems vulnerable to the spread of disease and waterborne illnesses.
“I’ve been in some difficult places,” says Martin Worth, UNICEF’s Head of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. “But this could get so much worse. What is already a dire humanitarian situation could become a catastrophe.”