Rohingya children refugees face ‘hell on earth’

UNICEF says the children who make up most of the nearly 600,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in Myanmar are seeing a “hell on earth” in overcrowded, muddy and squalid refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.

The U.N. children’s agency issued a report that documents the plight of children who account for 58 percent of the refugees who have poured into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, over the last eight weeks. Report author Simon Ingram says about one in five children in the area are “acutely malnourished.”

A Rohingya Muslim woman keeps flies away from her sick daughter as she waits inside a classroom of a school to be registered which will then allow them to proceed to build a shelter in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

The report comes ahead of a donor conference Monday in Geneva to drum up funding for the Rohingya.

“Many Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh have witnessed atrocities in Myanmar no child should ever see, and all have suffered tremendous loss,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in a statement.

The refugees need clean water, food, sanitation, shelter and vaccines to help head off a possible outbreak of cholera — a potentially deadly water-borne disease.

A Rohingya Muslim girl Toyiba Khatun cries while fighting fever as she waits with her family to be registered which will then allow them to proceed to build a shelter in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

Ingram also warned of threats posed by human traffickers and others who might exploit children in the refugee areas.

“These children just feel so abandoned, so completely remote, and without a means of finding support or help. In a sense, it’s no surprise that they must truly see this place as a hell on earth,” Ingram told a news conference in Geneva.

The report features harrowing color drawings by some children being cared for by UNICEF and other aid groups who are scrambling to improve living conditions in Cox’s Bazar. Some of the images show helicopter gunships and green-clad men firing on a village or on people, some of whom are spewing blood.

Rohingya Muslims sit inside a classroom waiting to be registered after which they will be allowed to proceed to build a shelter in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

The influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar began on Aug. 25 as the military launched a crackdown it said was in response to militant attacks. Refugees have fled burning villages and provided accounts — like the children’s drawings — of security forces gunning down civilians.

The U.N. and humanitarian agencies seek $434 million for the Rohingya refugees — about one-sixth of which would go to UNICEF efforts to help children.

A Rohingya Muslim woman feeds her daughter inside a classroom where a group of refugees wait to be registered after which they will be allowed to proceed to build a shelter in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

A Rohingya Muslim girl Asma Bibi, center, sleeps between her grandmother and sister in a dormitory of a school as they wait for their family to be registered as refugees after which they will be allowed to proceed to build a shelter in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.(AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

A newly arrived Rohingya Muslim girl, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, walks carrying her belongings near Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

A Rohingya Muslim girl Azra, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, holds her little brother Luqman and waits for their family to be registered as refugees after which they will be allowed to proceed to build a shelter in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.(AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

Rohingya Muslim women, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, stand in a queue to register themselves as refugees in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

A Rohingya Muslim woman Nur Nahar, center, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, holds her son Mohammad Junaid, as she sits in a dormitory of a school for her family to be registered as refugees after which they will be allowed to proceed to build a shelter in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

 A Rohingya Muslim girl Ishrat Ara carries a vessel of water as she walks back towards her shelter at Taiy Khali refugee camp, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. More than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when deadly attacks by a Rohingya insurgent group on police posts prompted Myanmar's military to launch "clearance operations" in Rakhine state. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)  

A Rohingya Muslim girl Ishrat Ara carries a vessel of water as she walks back towards her shelter at Taiy Khali refugee camp, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. More than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when deadly attacks by a Rohingya insurgent group on police posts prompted Myanmar's military to launch "clearance operations" in Rakhine state. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)  

Rohingya Muslim children, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, play with a cart in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

Rohingya Muslim children, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wait inside a classroom for their families to be registered as refugees after which they will be allowed to proceed to build a shelter in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

A Rohingya Muslim woman Setara Begum, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, holds her 45-day-old son Mohammad Hussain in a dormitory of a school in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)


Text from the AP news story, UNICEF: Rohingya children refugees face 'hell on earth'.

Photos by Dar Yasin