Dhaka — An aid agency projects 48,000 babies will be born this year in the refugee camps for Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh after military operations against them in Myanmar.
The babies will probably be born in tents in unsanitary conditions and will be at increased risk of disease and malnutrition, and of dying before age 5, Save the Children warned in its report Friday.
“The camps have poor sanitation and are a breeding ground for diseases like diphtheria, measles and cholera, to which newborn babies are particularly vulnerable,” said Rachael Cummings, the agency’s health adviser in Cox’s Bazar, the nearest city to the camps.
“This is no place for a child to be born.”
More than 650,000 Rohingya have fled what the United Nations and others say is a campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar military and Buddhist mobs since August last year in Rakhine state in western Myanmar. UNICEF has said almost 60 percent are children.
A Bangladeshi official called the projection of 48,000 babies mind-boggling.