Myanmar refugee crisis

Aloma Khatun with her daughter and baby at the CARE-supported child malnutrition clinic in Unchiprang refugee camp

“They came with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. They have nowhere else to go.”

Myanmar Refugee Crisis Appeal

Fleeing from violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, more than 670,000 refugees have crossed the border to Bangladesh. Many of them have suffered severe trauma from violent attacks on their villages and families, and nearly all of them are relying on humanitarian assistance to help to meet their basic needs.

Watch this video presented by Mahbubur Rahman, senior team leader, CARE Bangladesh, describing the support that CARE is providing to refugees in Potibunia camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and how CARE is helping people prepare for the coming monsoon rains. Filmed April 2018 just before the rains are expected to arrive.

Syed Alom, a refugee from Myanmar interviewed in the above video, said:

When we came here for fear of our lives we had nowhere to go. People of CARE looked after us. When they saw we had no place to live,they gave us shelters. Now they give us more bamboo, tarpaulin, to make our houses stronger.

People giving food to refugees walking along a muddy path
People offering food to a Rohingya refugee family

When the crisis began in August 2017, CARE, working with a local NGO partner, started immediate relief activities, including distributing food to families in need. Since then we have been supporting health clinics assessing and treating children suffering from acute malnutrition, and have set up four health centres in different refugee camps. We are also helping with the coordination and management of refugee camps; and developing programmes to protect and support survivors of gender-based violence.

Families fleeing from violence arrived with nothing: no shelter, no food, no belongings.

Rohingya refugee family sheltering under a plastic sheet
A refugee family sheltering under a plastic sheet

Huge numbers of people are crowded into makeshift shelters in the refugee settlements. The settlements are huge, stretching as far as the eye can see.

As well as shelter, people badly need health services. Nearly 100,000 refugees including children are currently suffering from fever and diarrhoeal diseases. People do not have proper access to sanitation facilities and safe drinking water, which poses a major health risk for refugees. We are also concerned about the risks – particularly for women and girls – of further violence, including gender-based violence.

Thanks to your support, we have already achieved a great deal: read more in this update from CARE Bangladesh (PDF). But the scale of this crisis means that much more help is needed.

Please donate now so we can bring life-saving help to desperate women, children and families.

A refugee woman with two children arriving in Bangladesh

The crisis in brief

An escalation of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in late August 2017 led to vast numbers of people fleeing across the border into Bangladesh in a desperate search for safety. Most of the refugees are women, children and small babies.

More than 600,000 people are staying in host communities, existing refugee camps, new makeshift settlements or camps, or just wherever they can find space.

Most are reliant on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic daily needs. More than 400,000 people require support to meet their food needs, while an estimated 125,000 pregnant and lactating women and children under 5 will need supplementary feeding.

This is a massive influx of people into a relatively small area near Cox's Bazar in southeast Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh and local authorities are working hard to meet the needs of the refugees, while local Bangladeshi families, with few resources themselves, have been assisting refugees where they can. CARE has been on the ground since the early days of the crisis, and with other humanitarian agencies we are continuing to work to meet the immense level of need.

CARE’s response

CARE Bangladesh’s emergency team is working in Cox’s Bazar district, where most refugees have sought shelter. Our team is distributing cooked meals and dry food as well as essential items that families need: candles; matches; clothes; blankets and utensils.

We are distributing the materials people need to build emergency shelters like tarp, bamboo and rope.

We are creating women and adolescent-friendly spaces and providing counselling and a referral service for survivors of gender-based violence.

We are supporting local partners to deliver community-based assessment and treatment of acute malnutrition.

We are assisting with refugee camp management and the coordination of emergency responses in the refugee camps.

Working closely with local authorities and local and international partners we will continue to scale up our response in the areas of food and nutrition, shelter, health, gender-based violence support and protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, and camp management.

Between Sept 2017 and March 2018, CARE reached nearly 200,000 people through distribution of food and non-food items, shelter kits, hygiene and dignity kits, and services for health, protection and management of gender-based violence. In addition, as part of a consortium, we have worked with more than 180,000 children with malnutrition.

By the end of 2018, CARE aims to reach 600,000 people, including refugees and host communities.

Please donate and send real help now to refugee families in Bangladesh.

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Rohingya refugees walking through mud
Refugee families struggle through ankle-deep mud as they arrive in Bangladesh