Cox’s Bazar/Geneva, 26 October 2017— The Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has made an impassioned plea for more support for people fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

Speaking at the end of a visit to Cox’s Bazar and the surrounding camps that are now home to more than 600,000 people, Secretary General Elhadj As Sy said:

“In our work, we are confronted with many situations of suffering. But what I have seen over the past two days has been deeply unsettling. The needs here are enormous. People are arriving hungry, frightened and exhausted,” said Mr Sy

“What particularly struck me was that this is in many ways a crisis of children. There are 300,000 children living here in these camps. They are losing their childhood. There are children carrying younger ones around, children carting sacks of rice and bamboo, they are not able to simply be what they are – children.”

Mr Sy visited an IFRC field hospital that has been set up near two of the biggest camps. The 60-bed facility has an operating room, delivery suite, intensive care unit, three wards, a laboratory and an isolation unit. It is staffed by Bangladesh Red Crescent doctors and nurses, with the support of 30 international medical staff.

While there, Mr Sy met with some of the patients, including a baby boy whose leg was broken when his mother dropped him while fleeing Myanmar.

He also visited the Bangladesh-Myanmar border where people are still arriving in their hundreds on a daily basis.

We desperately need a solution to the issues that are forcing people to flee their homes. But until then, we will continue to do all we can to support as many people as we can reach, to help them recover their dignity,” he said.

Mr Sy announced a dramatic increase in the IFRC’s emergency appeal for the Bangladesh operation, with the global humanitarian network now seeking more than 33.5 million Swiss francs to provide a range of support to 200,000 people. This represents a nearly three-fold increase from 12.7 million Swiss francs.

How we support these people in the coming weeks and months will speak directly to who we are as an international community. The amount we need is high, but the cost of not responding appropriately will be much higher, from both a financial and moral perspective,” Mr Sy said.

Related content

More information is available on the Rakhine crisis/Bangladesh population movement web page

Media contacts

In Bangladesh
Corinne Ambler
Tel. +88 0190 466 7337
corinne.ambler@ifrc.org

Angela Hill
Tel. +880 184 819 4130
angela.hill@redcross.ca

In Kuala Lumpur
Rosemarie North
Tel. +60 122 308 451
rosemarie.north@ifrc.org

In Geneva
Matthew Cochrane
Tel. +41 792 518 039
matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org

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