Severe Malnutrition Rates Among Rohingya Children in Bangladesh Grow

Rohingya refugees arrive at a UNHCR transit centre in Cox’s Bazar, south-east Bangladesh on October 19 after spending four days stranded at the Myanmar border with some 6,800 other refugees.
Rohingya families arrive at a UNHCR transit centre near the village of Anjuman Para, Cox’s Bazar, south-east Bangladesh after spending four days stranded at the Myanmar border with some 6,800 refugees. Photo: Roger Arnold, UNHCR

The number of severe malnutrition cases among Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh is much higher than original estimates, which indicates that minors are at risk of dying from a treatable cause, UN Children’s Fund said in a release on Friday.

“Preliminary data from a nutrition assessment conducted last week at Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, shows a 7.5 percent prevalence of life-threatening severe acute malnutrition – a rate double that seen among Rohingya child refugees in May 2017,” UNICEF said.

At present, UNICEF and its partners are treating more than 2,000 acutely malnourished Rohingya children at 15 centers, according to the release. Six additional centers are being set up.

On November 15, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to meet with senior leaders and officials in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, to consult on actions to address the humanitarian crisis in the Rakhine State fled by many Rohingya people.

The UN has coordinated a $434 million response plan to address the Rohingya refugee crisis, but it is only 32 percent funded now, according to UNICEF.