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Malnutrition Soaring Among Children of Rohingya: UNICEF

Geneva (November 04, 2017): Life-threatening malnutrition rates are soaring among the children of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, who fled Myanmar to escape violence, according to a nutritional assessment by the UN children’s fund.

The recently conducted survey in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar shows 7.5 percent of Rohingya refugee children suffer from severe acute malnutrition. UNICEF says this is at least two times higher than what was seen among the children in May — about four months before the mass exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state began.UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac says children with severe malnutrition risk dying from the preventable, treatable condition.

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar´s Rakhine state since late August during military operations that the United Nations has described as ethnic cleansing and the world´s most acute refugee crisis. Around half of them are children.

“It’s very worrying to see the condition of children who keep arriving,” UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac told reporters in Geneva after a recent trip to the camps.

The agency and its partners are already treating more than 2,000 acutely malnourished children at 15 treatment centres, and are in the process of setting up six additional centres.

UNICEF said its preliminary findings were based on a nutrition assessment conducted last week of children under the age of five in 405 households in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox´s Bazar.The Rohingya children in the camp, who have survived horrors in Myanmar´s northern Rakhine State and a dangerous journey here, are already caught up in a catastrophe,” UNICEF Bangladesh Representative Edouard Beigbeder said in a statement.

“Those with severe malnutrition are now at risk of dying from an entirely preventable and treatable cause,” he warned. Malnutrition rates among children in northern Rakhine were already above emergency thresholds before the latest crisis erupted.

“The condition of these children has further deteriorated due to the long journey across the border and the conditions in the camps,” the UNICEF statement said.

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