By Mutasim Billah
The first consignment of UNICEF emergency supplies for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children and their families has arrived in the capital Dhaka Sunday.
According to a press release, the cargo plane arrived with 100 tons of supplies, which contain water purifying tablets, family hygiene kits, sanitary materials, plastic tarpaulins, and recreational kits for children among other items.
Since Aug. 25, more than 429,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN's migration agency.
The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.
Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF representative in Bangladesh, said: “Ensuring that children and families have safe water for drinking and washing is absolutely essential in order to protect them against diarrhea and other waterborne diseases.”
“This is a very real threat given the current situation in the camps and makeshift settlements where the Rohingya are now living, especially amid the current heavy rains”.
He said the next consignments consisting of school bags, tents, early childhood development kits, family hygiene and dignity kits, tarpaulin and nutrition materials are also on its way to Bangladesh.
The supplies will be delivered by truck to the southern city of Cox’s Bazar, where an expanding international response is mobilizing to address the plight of the growing number of Rohingya refugees arriving in Bangladesh.
UNICEF is seeking $7.3 million in additional funding for its work in southern Bangladesh over the next three months.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.