UNICEF appeals for $76.1M for Rohingya children


UNICEF on Monday requested $76.1 million from donor countries to assist children affected by the Rohingya refugee crisis in southern Bangladesh.

The UNICEF appeal for $7 million for Rohingya refugees has been expanded over tenfold to $76.1 million due to "the fast-growing scale of the crisis," the UN agency said in a statement.

"The appeal will cover the immediate needs of newly arrived Rohingya children, as well as those who arrived before the recent influx, and children from vulnerable host communities."

According to UNICEF, up to 60 percent of the more than half-million Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar since Aug. 25 are children.

"Desperate, traumatized children and their families are fleeing the violence in Myanmar every day. We are scaling up our response as fast as we can, but the magnitude of need is immense and we must be able do more to help them. These children are being denied a childhood," Anthony Lake, UNICEF's executive director, said in a statement.

The majority of Rohingya children are not fully immunized against diseases such as polio, Lake warned.

Since Aug. 25, more than 500,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh.

The refugees are fleeing a fresh military 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.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the issue at the UN.

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.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine's Maungdaw district, security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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