(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))
ABU DHABI, 25th December, 2017 (WAM) -- A UAE newspaper has said that a quarter of Rohingya children under the age of five who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar suffer from potentially life-threatening levels of malnutrition, according to UN officials, and this is hugely distressing news.
In an editorial on Monday, The Gulf Today said, "In what UN officials rightly described as ethnic cleansing, more than 655,000 people from the Rohingya minority Muslim community were forced to flee Myanmar's Rakhine state since late August during military operations. Around half of them are children.
"Three health and nutrition surveys conducted between 22nd October and 27th November revealed up to 25 percent of the young children crammed into Bangladeshi refugee camps have acute malnutrition, among other maladies."
UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac has indicated that nearly half the children surveyed have anaemia, up to 40 percent have diarrhoea, and up to 60 percent have acute respiratory infections.
On 3rd November, UNICEF warned that 7.5 percent of the children in one of the camps in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district were at risk of dying from acute malnutrition.
The Rohingya refugee crisis has already entered its fourth month and the world community cannot afford to remain a silent spectator on the issue anymore. The refugees have been expressing numerous worries, including feeling unsafe at night given weak shelters and a lack of lighting.
"Benevolent UAE, which always rises to the occasion to help people in distress, has been doing its best to help the helpless Rohingya," added the editorial comment.
"Emirati volunteer doctors at the UAE-Bangladesh voluntary field hospital last week saved the life of a Rohingya refugee child suffering from potentially fatal acute respiratory infection and low blood pressure, which required urgent medical treatment."
Dr. Reem Othman, Ambassador of Humanitarian Action, has highlighted the desire of the Zayed Giving Initiative to continue its volunteer treatment programmes for vulnerable patients in Rohingya refugee camps, by providing free treatment for all urgent, contagious and chronic diseases.
"Though Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government inked an agreement with Bangladesh in late November to start the repatriation of Rohingya refugees within two months, doubts persist whether this could be carried out responsibly," added the paper.
"Myanmar must ensure a safe and stable environment so that Rohingya could return home," concluded the Sharjah-based daily.