A Rohingya Mother Worries for Her Son’s Life

We met Rahima and Yunis at an aid distribution in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

Photo: Muse Mohammed/UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Rahima waited in an aid distribution line in Balukhali, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. She was carrying what appeared to be a sleeping baby in her arms.

The little boy, Yunis, was fast asleep, oblivious to the commotion around him. Hundreds of people were waiting and hoping to get vital relief.

He is two and a half years old, Rahima said, but the child in her arms, a tiny bundle of bones, with six fingers on each hand, looked so small and frail that one could have mistaken him to be an infant less than a year old.

Rahima had walked for five days to reach Cox’s Bazar, she said. Yunis, had hardly eaten and had been running a fever ever since they left. Like any mother, she was worried for Yunis’s young life.

She had nowhere to go, no shelter and no food. Previously, she had lived in a settlement sharing a flimsy hut with several other families. The shelter kit and other essential items she was about to receive would go a long way in protecting Yunis and her from the monsoon rains.

Photo: Muse Mohammed/UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Since late August, IOM has scaled up quickly — shelter has been provided to 379,000 individuals, while 47,000 health consultations have been provided. IOM has contributed 200 staff to assist in a Ministry of Health-led Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) campaign that has reached 679,000 people. Some 678,000 litres of water have been distributed, along with over 11,000 dignity kits.

A critical pledging conference for the crisis organized by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and IOM, and co-hosted by the European Union and Kuwait will take place in Geneva on 23 October 2017.

The conference will provide governments from around the world an opportunity to show their solidarity and share the burden and responsibility. The UN Humanitarian Response Plan requires USD 434 million to meet the life-saving needs of all Rohingya refugees and their host communities — together an estimated 1.2 million people — for the difficult months to come.

This story was posted by the UN Migration Agency’s team in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.