This new city is not a good place to grow up. Most of the refugees are children and UNICEF is working every day to make sure they can all survive, learn and play.
Our job is about to get a lot harder.
Rohingya children and families who have fled extreme violence are now facing a new danger: a looming natural disaster. Cyclone and monsoon seasons are approaching and UNICEF is bracing for an emergency. The deadliest cyclone ever recorded was here in Bangladesh - ripping through the country in 1970 and claiming as many as 500,000 lives.
If disaster strikes now, this new city could be devastated - wiping out the following treasures which children just can’t afford to lose.
New homes built with determination and love
It’s not his dream home but Bodiuzzaman built this shelter with his own hands.
His eldest daughter was killed as they fled Myanmar and now this Rohingya father is determined to protect his remaining children from other dangers. “In Myanmar they were shooting everywhere,” he says. “After building this house I feel peace in my heart.”
Like most refugees, Bodiuzzaman’s new home is made out of mud, bamboo poles, tarpaulin, plastic bags - whatever his family could find or collect at the end of their perilous journey from Myanmar. It’s an impressive effort but this shelter won’t keep them safe from floods, landslides or the blistering winds of a cyclone.
Parents like Bodiuzzaman are determined to protect their children from the coming storms and defend the only places they have to call home.
Rooms full of music and laughter
In the middle of these chaotic camps, UNICEF helps to create the rarest of things: a peaceful space for children to learn, play, sing, dance and draw.
If monsoonal winds and rains topple these child-friendly spaces, children won’t just lose their toys and books. Play is the perfect way for children to make friends and start to recover from violence and displacement. Learning centres are a chance to feel normal in the hectic bustle of the world’s largest refugee settlement.