Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Boat arrives in Bangladesh. Credit: Aurélie Marrier d'Unienville
Boat arrives in Bangladesh. Credit: Aurélie Marrier d'Unienville

A father carries his son across a broken bamboo bridge on the edge of Balhukali camp, Bangladesh. Image credit: Aurélie Marrier d'Unienville

April 20, 2018

Donate to the Emergency Response Fund.Oxfam provides humanitarian aid to serious humanitarian disasters around the globe, even the ones that seldom or never hit the headlines.  Our Emergency Response Fund ensures that Oxfam can quickly respond wherever and whenever the need is greatest.  Assistance shouldn’t be dependent on media coverage. The Emergency Response Fund enables Oxfam Canada to provide quick and effective responses to emergency situations in developing countries.

Map of BangladeshThe situation

There are now nearly 860,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, of whom 688,000 have arrived since  August, 2017. Not only has the pace of new arrivals made this the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, the concentration of refugees in Cox’s Bazar is now amongst the densest in the world.

Refugees are living in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, and many face threats including gender-based violence, trafficking, forced prostitution, and early forced marriage. Roughly 1000 people continue to arrive every day, and thousands are stuck in the border area known as no-man’s land. This is a large scale and escalating humanitarian crisis.

Existing camps and the ones newly being set up are inadequate to deal with the massive influx of people. These individuals have been left homeless and hungry following a long and treacherous journey across the border. More than 70% of the newly arrived have no shelter and only 50% have access to safe drinking water. Many people are still living under open skies, by the roadside and in forest areas with little or no protection from the elements.

These individuals need life-saving assistance now, including clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, essential food items and emergency supplies. 

  • Water supply, water purification, and storage facilities are needed immediately. Due to the inadequate sanitation facilities, there's a high probability for the spread of waterborne diseases. 
  • More than 470,000 people need aid because they don't have enough to eat, of which 200,000 are vulnerable people including pregnant women, new mothers, and children under 5. 

Special attention must be paid to the needs of women and girls. More than half of the refugees are women, the majority being girls under the age of 18. There are more than 120,000 pregnant women and mothers with new babies now living in the camps. The protection, privacy, health, and hygiene needs of women, girls and nursing mothers must be met, and measures are taken to prevent any form of sexual or gender-based violence. 

What Oxfam is doing

Oxfam is responding now and has reached nearly 260,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh by providing clean drinking water, portable toilets and sanitation facilities, plastic sheets, and other essential supplies.

Many Rohingya are being relocated from flood risk areas to new locations in the camps. Oxfam is supporting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh by:

  • Setting up of 443 shallow tube wells and 87 deep tube wells to provide people with clean water.
  • Oxfam has also now designed and will co-construct a new water piping network across the mega camp. Oxfam has already constructed over 500 tube wells to provide water
  • Our fecal sludge management plant is now up and running, and aims to manage the waste of 100,000 people. We have also mapped latrines and are designing a sewage system to manage human waste.
  • In Unchiprang and Nyapara camps we have set up a water treatment plant that pumps water to the entire camps.
  • We are also providing fresh food vouchers for over 100,000 people. The vouchers allow Rohingya to buy vegetables and other fresh food they previously did not have money for.
  • We have also now installed 50 public solar lights and hand held solar lights to 2,000 families so people feel safer at night.

We are working with the government and other agencies to make sure that new refugee camps being setup meet humanitarian standards for the delivery of aid.

Oxfam’s programmes going forward will include:

  • clean water and sanitation
  • hygiene materials and promotion
  • gender integrated into our provision of water, sanitation and hygiene
  • safe spaces for women

How you can help

Your gift to Oxfam's Emergency Response Fund will go directly towards our emergency work, present and future. With your help, we can:

  • Locate the communities hit hardest and launch relief operations immediately.
  • Strengthen the Gender in Emergencies capacity of partners and responders.
  • Reach survivors and help provide the tools they need, like food, cash, and access to clean water and safe sanitation – even when disasters don't grab headlines and inspire an outpouring of donations.
  • Provide support to smaller underfunded emergencies.

Donate to the Emergency Response Fund.

Learn more:

Media release: Rohingya refugees say no return to Myanmar without equal rights, December 15, 2017
Media release: Oxfam Canada thanks Canadians for their generosity in helping Rohingya refugees, December 13, 2017
Blog: SEE ME: The perilous flight of a Rohingya refugee, December 6, 2017
Blog: The Rohingya Sanitation Crisis Can’t Continue, Huffington Post, November 17, 2017
Media release: Oxfam Canada welcomes federal Crisis Relief Fund for Rohingya refugees, October 31, 2017
Media release: More funds needed to help Rohingya women who have fled rape and violence, October 23, 2017
Media release: Oxfam warns threat of disease rapidly rising as thousands more Rohingya arrive daily in Bangladesh, October 11, 2017
Media release: Race to prevent disease as thousands more Rohingya arrive daily in Bangladesh, October 11, 2017.
Media release: Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya without shelter & clean water in flooded camps: Oxfam, September 27, 2017
Media release: Oxfam providing life-saving help to over 200,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh, September 15, 2017
Media release: Oxfam Responds to Urgent Needs of People Fleeing Conflict to Bangladesh, September 8, 2017

Page last updated January 2, 2018