Rohingya refugees have been fleeing violence in Myanmar at a staggering rate – and the numbers keep growing.
They walk for days through jungles and mountains, or brave dangerous sea voyages across the Bay of Bengal. They arrive exhausted, hungry and sick – in need of international protection and humanitarian assistance.
The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar. The latest exodus began on 25 August 2017, when violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The vast majority of Rohingya refugees reaching Bangladesh are women and children, including newborn babies. Many others are elderly people requiring additional aid and protection.
As more refugees arrive every day there is an acute need for emergency shelters and land to house them, as well as blankets, tarpaulins, solar lanterns and other forms of aid. To lessen the risk of waterborne and airborne diseases, refugees and host communities urgently need more clean water, health care and other supplies. Pregnant women, young children and the elderly are especially vulnerable.
Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017
population of Kutupalong and Nayapara refugee camps
of UNHCR emergency response funding for the Rohingya crisis request remains unfunded
What is UNHCR doing to help?
UNHCR is leading the emergency response in the two camps, Kutupalong and Nayapara, where we are providing life-saving assistance and protection to the Rohingya refugees, in close collaboration with partners and authorities.
We are providing emergency shelter in many forms and wherever available, ranging from plastic sheeting to temporary bamboo sheds to common buildings, such as schools, being used as temporary shelters.
We are also distributing blankets, kitchen sets, jerrycans, solar lanterns, sleeping mats, and mosquito nets. The first two UNHCR emergency airlifts carrying 3,500 relief items and 1,700 family tents arrived in Dhaka on 13 September – enough to meet the immediate needs of 25,000 refugees. Further flights are being planned.
We continue to identify the most vulnerable new arrivals, such as unaccompanied children, pregnant women, the elderly and the disabled. Our protection staff are working to establish child-friendly spaces and to prevent sexual and gender-based violence.
"Almost 600,000 people have fled, that's the equivalent of half of Calgary."
UNHCR Canada Representative Jean-Nicolas Beuze joined the National Observer to speak about the scale of the Rohingya crisis.
Send urgent relief to Rohingya families in need
UNHCR urgently requires an estimated US$30 million to respond to the ongoing emergency in Bangladesh, which was already coping with devastating floods before the refugee influx. Of this amount, US$6 million is immediately needed for shelter and core relief items for Rohingya refugees. Much more needs to be done to meet the acute needs of children, women and men fleeing conflict.
UNHCR can deploy humanitarian aid and expert response teams within 72 hours of a large-scale emergency to jump-start relief and protection assistance for more than 600,000 newly displaced people.