Concern responding to Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh

Newly arrived Rohingya refugees scramble for clothing being distributed from an aid truck in the Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh. Photo: © UNHCR/Adam Dean.
Newly arrived Rohingya refugees scramble for clothing being distributed from an aid truck in the Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh. Photo: © UNHCR/Adam Dean.

Concern will step up its humanitarian efforts in Bangladesh to help support the wounded and homeless Rohingya people currently fleeing violence in Myanamar in their hundreds of thousands.

Camps swell as refugees pour in

Close to 400,000 vulnerable Rohingyas have poured into the Cox’s Bazar area of south eastern Bangladesh ever since violence erupted in Rakhine State, Myanmar last month. Makeshift refugee camps have now reached full capacity and new arrivals – many of whom are arriving with bullet wounds and other injuries – are urgently in need of water, food, shelter and medical assistance.

Concern, which has been working in Bangladesh for almost 50 years, will respond to the crisis through local partners, who plan to provide assistance to 40,000 people in need. Once government approval is confirmed, we will be supporting the Rohingya population to meet shelter, water, sanitation and nutritional needs. 

This is the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world right now. https://t.co/iWmUqtPGt9 #RohingyaCrisis pic.twitter.com/nLK9dtXcKp

— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) September 12, 2017

Growing humanitarian need

Speaking from Dhaka today, Concern's Country Director in Bangladesh A.K.M Musha described the crisis unfolding in the south east of the country: “The humanitarian need in the Cox’s Bazar area is huge and there are not enough resources to cope with the ever-increasing number of Rohingyas coming into the area. Many have taken refuge in makeshift camps, host communities, and anywhere they can get shelter." He added:

People are arriving wounded, many with bullet wounds in their arms, every day."

The government of Bangladesh, local communities and local NGO partners, international NGOS and the UN are supporting as best they can but they are also coping with the humanitarian problems following last month’s rains, floods and mudslides so the situation will get worse if they don’t receive adequate support.

I've been doing refugee work for more than 30 years, but seeing people as they first become refugees is still heartbreaking. #Rohingya pic.twitter.com/BKG2c9UwCv

— Bill Frelick (@BillFrelick) September 13, 2017

Calls for international support for Bangladesh

Musha continued: “The Prime Minister of Bangladesh visited the area in recent days, she spoke to the Rohingyas and assured her government’s support to address the humanitarian needs. She urged the international communities to put pressure on Myanmar to resolve the problem and facilitate repatriation of all the people that have taken refuge to Bangladesh.”

Concern’s head of Middle East and Asia, Brid Kennedy added:

The Bangladesh government cannot deal with the huge influx of refugees – many of whom are in a desperate situation – on its own and it requires increased support from the international community to help with the response."

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in the early hours of 25 August. Apart from the hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas who have poured into Myanmar, an estimated 400,000 are still trapped in conflict zones of Rakhine state, where needs are unknown and access virtually impossible, and an additional estimated 20,000 Rohingya are still stranded between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

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