Letter to the editor: Children suffer most in humanitarian crisis

As the festive season rapidly approaches and families across Australia make plans to get together, hundreds of thousands of families camping out in Bangladesh are not so fortunate.

In Bangladesh, the world’s fastest growing humanitarian emergency shows no sign of easing, as more than 618,000 Rohingya people are now in an impossibly difficult situation.

Plan International is there to help. Our aid workers are working hard to make life in these appalling makeshift camps safer for babies, children and women, who are particularly vulnerable.

It’s estimated more than 60 per cent of the Rohingya who are now living in makeshift camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, are women and children. Ensuring their safety in a precarious environment is a huge responsibility. Thanks to generous donations, we have now been able to reach almost 60,000 people living in the camp with aid.

A one-day-old baby born in the Cox's Bazar camp. Plan International Australia aid workers want to see makeshift camps safer for babies, children and women. Photo: supplied

A one-day-old baby born in the Cox's Bazar camp. Plan International Australia aid workers want to see makeshift camps safer for babies, children and women. Photo: supplied

Plan International has already constructed 400 toilets and has distributed thousands of hygiene kids to families living in the worst conditions imaginable. We aim to construct 1000 latrines and 200 bathing spaces over the next year.

Work to reunite children with their families is urgently required and Plan International stands ready to support this effort and to set up child-friendly spaces. We must ensure children living in these appalling conditions have the chance to play and just be kids.

For these people, the future is bleak. But we can all do something right now to help keep them safe and to reunite families. And that’s something to truly feel good about this Christmas.

To help the Rohingya families stranded in this terrible situation go to plan.org.au/rohingyacrisis or call 13 75 26.

Ian Wishart, chief executive, Plan International Australia