"Houses were burning. There were rocket launchers. They were killing people after arresting them, that’s why we fled here.”
—Umme, 12


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 more than 520,000 vulnerable Rohingya children like her are living in the path of a looming threat. With monsoon season approaching, the overcrowded camps they call home could be swept away.

Situated on land cleared for the influx of 390,000 Rohingya since August, the refugees' new homes are tents perched on barren hillsides that the coming rains will turn to mud. Landslides could claim countless lives, and severe flooding destroy the camps’ fragile sanitation infrastructure, contaminating the water supply. For families living in cramped quarters, cholera outbreaks and other waterborne illnesses are all too likely. (Continued below.)

Umme's Story
12-year-old Rohingya refugee Umme and her family fled the mass killings of their people in Myanmar for safety in Bangladesh. But, now with Monsoon season here, she may be up against another fight for her life.
Read Umme's Full Story
Rohingya's New Threat
Rohingya refugee children fled horrific violence but now they face new danger: monsoon season. Learn about this new crisis and how you can help UNICEF keep Rohingya children safe, healthy and dry.
Read the Full Story
Water Report
UNICEF is working hard to provide Rohingya refugee children with clean water and protect them from disease. Watch Jean-Jacques Simon, UNICEF Bangladesh, explain how “Water is at the center of this humanitarian crisis.”
Read the Full Story

 

UNICEF is now mobilizing to keep Rohingya children safe, healthy and dry during cyclone season. Vital infrastructure is being reinforced and medical supplies prepositioned to handle the rise of illnesses like cholera — an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill a child within hours if not treated. The water supply is being treated, and supplies families will need to keep their water safe and clean — hygiene kits, water purification tablets, chlorine, soap and buckets — stockpiled. Vaccination teams are administering the oral cholera vaccine to 1.1 million people, and community volunteers are fanning out to educate families about how to protect themselves.

But it’s a race against time to spare Umme and Rohingya refugee children like her another fight for their lives.

“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.”

Become an Expert
Who are the Rohingya? Where did they come from? Why did they leave? Learn about the dangers they face and how to help.