By Angela Hill/IFRC

Thousands more people have crossed the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh since 9 October, most under the cover of night. Exhausted, dehydrated and many dealing with loss, they are moving into the camps and makeshift settlements near Cox’s Bazar.

Women sleep on the side of the road after travelling by foot for days to cross the border.

About 1,000 of these new families are in Mainnerghona, an already overcrowded camp without proper water, sanitation or shelter.

But there, they feel safe.

Rahmatiali (centre) and his brothers, (left and right).

“When I reached here I understand, we are in peace,” said Rahmatiali. He walked for about 10 days with his two brothers, wife and children to get to the border.

Azida feels the same way. The 15-year-old fled her home with relatives but some of her sisters had to stay behind. She said she misses them and is worried about them because she doesn’t know what will happen to the people who have stayed.


A Norwegian Red Cross mobile health team met many of the new arrivals on Tuesday. They treated children with fevers and skin infections, but the biggest concern was dehydration.

“Dehydration is the most dangerous thing,” said Inari Listo, a doctor with the team.

“People are losing a lot of liquid and they haven’t got a lot to drink except really dirty water, so it’s a cycle.”

The team saw the danger for children first hand. A young couple came asking for help for their small child, but despite the team trying to save him, they were unable to.

An elderly man, Mirahmed, spoke the losses he and others faced on their journey. He said his two adult sons were shot and killed during their 11 day walk. He said young women were raped or taken away.

“We can see, but we cannot do anything,” he said.

On the border, he became separated from his daughter-in-law and his two young granddaughters. “Now I have nothing,” he said. “Can I go back there? I cannot.”