Hundreds of thousands of terrified Rohingya refugees began flooding onto the beaches and paddy fields of southern Bangladesh in August 2017. Fleeing a Myanmar military crackdown that UN officials call "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing," the Rohingya have been subjected to a horrific campaign of brutal violence, including gang rapes and massacres. Now, seven months later, they are still arriving in Bangladesh at the rate of more than 1,000 a week, tired, traumatized and in need of safe, clean water.
"Without clean water, you can get waterborne diseases," says Jean-Jacques Simon, Regional Chief of Communication for UNICEF in South Asia. "Clean water is at the center of this humanitarian crisis."
The monsoon season threatens to bring floods and landslides, further jeopardizing the survival of refugees living in the overcrowded makeshift settlements. "Hundreds of thousands of children are already living in horrific conditions, and they will face an even greater risk of disease, flooding, landslides and further displacement," says Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.
Photos from top: Rohingya refugees continue to arrive in Bangladesh at the rate of 1,000 or more a month. © UNICEF; Rohingya refugee children stand atop a narrow path hugging a steep slope at the Unchiprang makeshift settlement in Cox's Bazar District, Bangladesh, January 2018. © UNICEF/UN0157358/Nybo