Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, 24 November 2017 – It is three months since the latest wave of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state triggered one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises.
Since 25 August, at least 621,000 people have fled into Bangladesh. Arriving on foot or by boat, they join more than 307,000 who earlier fled seeking safety in Bangladesh, taking the numbers up to almost one million people, with many thousands more reported to be waiting to cross the border.
“People escape from Myanmar with their lives but often nothing else. They arrive dehydrated, exhausted and terrified. In Bangladesh, they find themselves forced to lead the most precarious human existence possible. We are trying to help with basic necessities such as shelter, food, water and sanitation,” says Bangladesh Red Crescent Secretary General BMM Mozharul Huq.
The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and National Societies from around the world, has provided aid including emergency food relief to more than 433,000 people, health service through a 60-bed field hospital and mobile clinics that have treated more than 23,000 patients, safe spaces for children and more than 130,000 litres of safe drinking water.
The IFRC has called for 33.5 million Swiss francs (about 34 million USD) to meet people’s most basic needs but has so far received only 47 per cent of the necessary funds.
“We are doing our best to respond to this huge influx using the resources we have mobilized with our partners’ support. But given the scale of the needs we can only cover the bare minimum humanitarian standards for survival,” says IFRC’s Head of the Population Movement Operation, Necephor Mghendi. “We have to keep doing more so we can offer some measure of dignity and try to help restore some hope.”
As groups of hundreds of people continue to enter Bangladesh, they face a future of uncertainty.
“Despite the news of an agreement on repatriation, the needs here are enormous and are likely to remain so for a significant period of time,” Mghendi says.
- Diana Coulter +880 185 699 0502, FACTComms.Bangladesh@ifrc.org
- Francis Markus +880 183 782 4772 Francis.Markus@ifrc.org
- BMM Mozharul Huq +880 181 145 8500, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Azmat Ulla, +8801711521615, Azmat.email@example.com
In Kuala Lumpur
- Rosemarie North, +60 122 308 451, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Matthew Cochrane, +41 792 518 039, email@example.com