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Millions of children at risk after cyclone hits Myanmar, Bangladesh: UNICEF


United Nations, May 17 (IANS) The devastation of Cyclone Mocha, which has ripped through parts of Bangladesh and Myanmar, has severely disrupted the lives of millions of vulnerable children and families, including many already living in squalid conditions. UNICEF.

Even as the worst of the storm has passed, the risk of landslides remains high, the UN fund warned on Tuesday, and other risks, including waterborne diseases, are likely to increase in the coming days.

Cyclone Mocha hit the coasts of Bangladesh and Myanmar on Sunday afternoon, leaving a trail of destroyed homes, health facilities, schools and other vital infrastructure. Many of the hundreds of thousands of those affected are refugees or internally displaced persons living in poorly constructed shelters in camps and hard-to-reach areas. And UNICEF added, quoting a report by the New China News Agency (Xinhua), that they depend heavily on humanitarian aid for food, water, health, education and protection.

“The areas hardest hit by the storm are home to communities already living through conflict, poverty, instability, and climatic and environmental shocks,” UNICEF Executive Director Kathryn Russell said in a press release.

The situation is particularly worrying in Myanmar. UNICEF said more than 16 million people, 5.6 million of them children, were in the path of the cyclone in Rakhine State and locations in the northwest.

In Bangladesh, home to the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, one million Rohingya refugees faced the brunt of severe storms, half of them children. UNICEF added that refugee camps are among the most crowded places on earth and are prone to mudslides, and children live in fragile temporary shelters.

Cyclone Mocha tied with Tropical Cyclone Fani in 2019 as the strongest storm ever recorded in the northern Indian Ocean. Scientists recently discovered that while disaster management efforts have reduced the number of deaths during hurricanes in recent years, climate change is threatening this progress. They pointed out that the escalation in the frequency and intensity of storms will pose a much greater threat to Bangladesh in the coming decades.

She added that while Cox’s Bazar escaped the eye of the storm, thousands of people were affected and many shelters, facilities and temporary refugee infrastructure were flooded and severely damaged.

Working with local partners, UNICEF is pre-positioning and deploying supplies in Bangladesh and Myanmar to ramp up response services, including water, sanitation, child protection, health, nutrition and education.

– Jans

int /kHz/

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