Around 60 babies a day are taking their first breath in appalling conditions: UNICEF

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More than 60 babies are being born every day in the camps and informal settlements in Cox’s Bazar in the nine months since a brutal Myanmar army crackdown forced thousands of families to take refuge in Bangladesh.

UNICEF on Wednesday said that more than 16,000 Rohingya babies have been born in the camps and informal settlements in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh since the violence broke out in Myanmar’s agitated Rakhine state in August last year.

“Around 60 babies a day are taking their first breath in appalling conditions, away from home, to mothers who have survived displacement, violence, trauma and, at times, rape,” said UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh Edouard Beigbeder. “This is far from the best start in life,” he added.

The Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar has to face many risks, including child labour and disease outbreaks as girls and young women are sexually exploited.

More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees are growing weak in Bangladeshi refugee camps after fleeing from Myanmar.

According to the UNICEF women and children refugees had to go through sexual violence and those who survived are among the most vulnerable and marginalized in the refugee community.

“It is impossible to know the true number of babies who have been or will be born as a result of sexual violence,” said Beigbeder, adding, “But it is vital that each and every new and expectant mother and every new-born receive all the help and support they need.”

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