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"My Children Keep Me Going"

Modina describes her life after fleeing Myanmar in September.

“I don’t eat much; I feed my daughters instead,” said Modina, who fled Myanmar in September.

“I don’t know where my destiny lies and how long I will have to continue like this,” added the 23-year-old, whose husband was killed in the conflict in Myanmar.

She travelled to Bangladesh with her uncle’s family and is now sheltering in a tiny tent in Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar with her two daughters, 5-year-old Shehera and 6-year-old Asma.

“When we left, I was carrying my younger child, and the older one was asking for her father, but I couldn’t answer,” she said.

More than 580,000 Rohingya people, the majority of them women and children, have fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State since late August.

Lack of sanitation is a major concern for the displaced Rohingya people. In many places, one latrine is being used by 150 people.

“There was a tube-well here, but it doesn’t work anymore,” she said. “Everyone says that the water levels have gone down. I can’t remember the last time I bathed.”

Thousands of people are camping in the open with little or no shelter on muddy hillsides in Cox’s Bazar. They have no access to clean water or toilets. With hundreds of new arrivals every day, the challenges continue to grow.

Plan International is already working in the settlement building latrines and providing essential hygiene kits but is deeply concerned about the urgent needs and protection concerns of orphaned and unaccompanied children arriving at the camps.

Along with other humanitarian agencies, Plan is urging the Government of Bangladesh to facilitate and secure the full and unhindered access of humanitarian actors so that its child protection response can be scaled up.

“I collect water and preserve it for drinking,” said Modina. “I can live without food for two days, but without water, my children will die. They are already suffering from diarrhea. They were healthy before, but now we can’t have proper meals. I boil rice and lentils every day for my daughters; I have hardly seen any fish since I arrived here.”

“I eat less, so I don’t need to go very often,” she said about using the toilet. “My children use open places and at night I go to the jungle. I don’t feel shy; I have overcome my shyness.”

Modina has many fears.

“I feel nervous when I go to collect relief food, leaving my children at my neighbor’s shelter with their children,” she said. “My children keep me going. My husband’s appearance reflects on their faces.”

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