Thursday, December 14, 2017 | ePaper

About 1,400 Rohingya children arrive without parents

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A Rohingya refugee child reacts as people queue for aid in a camp in Cox’s Bazar on Friday. Reuters photo

About 1,400 Rohingya children have arrived in Bangladesh without their parents fleeing violence in Rakhine State of Myanmar.
Their parents were either killed or missing in the wake of a brutal military crackdown in Rakhine state.
These children have been provided shelter at the Child Friendly Space (CFS) of Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar.
 "They have arrived in Bangladesh near the Myanmar border without their parents. Many of them have seen family members killed and their homes set on fire by Myanmar army," said Faria Amin, communication specialist at UNICEF Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the UN General Assembly on Thursday that Bangladesh was sheltering more than 8,00,000 Rohingya, of whom 4,30,000 had arrived in the past three weeks.
Children constitute about 60 per cent of the people who have poured into Bangladesh, according to UNICEF.
Farida Amin said, "Those (children) who arrived without their parents have been given shelters at the CFS centres, supported by UNICEF in collaboration with local aid agencies."
 "These centers have become a sanctuary for children in trauma, with many of them too young to even understand the enormity of the tragedy," she added.
Rashid (10) is among about 1,400 Rohingya children, who have arrived in Bangladesh without their parents.
He is mourning the loss of his parents - father Zahid Hossain and mother Ramija Khatun, who, he says, were killed by the Myanmar military.
Rashid lived with his parents and six siblings in Shikderpara village of Maungdaw until August 25, when the army targeted his home as part of its campaign that termed as "ethnic cleansing" by the international agencies including the United Nations.
 "It was Friday. I grabbed my sister's hand and ran towards the nearby hill. After the army departed I came back and found my parents dead," he said. He had little time to mourn in his village. He found his neighbours near the hill and tagged along with them for the rest of the journey.
"I walked for three nights to reach the Bangladesh border. I crossed the Naf river to enter Bangladesh a day before Eid on September 1," he said.
Rashid has no clue about the whereabouts of his other siblings. "I heard that all my brothers and sister were killed."
Now his little shoulder has to carry a heavy responsibility - he has to take care of his six-year-old younger sister Rashida.
 "When Rashid came on the first day, every moment he came to me to say his parents are dead," said Faria Amin.
 "He has eased up a bit in the past few days after he started to come here (CFS)," she said.
Faria said there are 42 CFSs in Ukhia and Teknaf.

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