Bangladesh: 6k Rohingya refugee children got no home after camp fire

When a fire tore through Sohida’s home in a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, she was eight years old and on a playground. She was in danger as soon as she noticed the fire and the commotion going on all around her.

Sohida joined the crowd running away while her heart was racing from panic, and as darkness fell, she ended up by the side of the road. She received meals from a stranger and spent the night in the open.

Sohida has already witnessed far too much suffering for someone so young. After a wave of unimaginable brutality and murder that drove over 700,000 Rohingyas from their homes in Myanmar in 2017, her parents were slain. Sohida is one of the almost one million Rohingya refugees living in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, across the border, under the supervision of a religious leader from her community.

Sohida had made it to a temporary UNICEF shelter the morning after the fire.

Sohida, visibly concerned, says, “I was afraid of getting burned and dying in the fire.
A social worker counsels Sohida and other children affected by the fire at the UNICEF shelter. Children who were separated from families in the commotion need special attention.

Sohida and her foster father are now back together but still have nowhere to reside, so their days will be difficult.

Sohida is one of the 12,000 Rohingya refugees who lost their shelter homes in the fire, half of whom are children. Also, several buildings that offer vital services to refugee children and their families were destroyed. Almost 20 educational facilities, at least one feeding centre, and numerous sanitation facilities are included in this list.

UNICEF sent two mobile medical teams to give injured refugees immediate medical attention. In the dire circumstance when they have lost all they owned, UNICEF has also given families dignity kits to help them preserve their cleanliness and feeling of dignity. The dignity kits include sanitary pads and other essential hygiene supplies like soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.

The Rohingya refugees continue to rely solely on humanitarian aid for safety, food, water, housing, and health as the long road to recovery and rebuilding gets underway.

Repairing and rebuilding damaged facilities is UNICEF’s priority to allow kids like Sohida to return to school and get crucial healthcare, nutrition, and sanitation services.

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