A girl carries her baby brother in the Rohingya refugee camps
A girl carries her baby brother in the Rohingya refugee camps

Rohingya Crisis

Rohingya Crisis

Sameera* carries her brother in the Rohingya refugee camps, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Image: Turjoy Chowdhury/DEC

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Key achievements

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£30 million

raised for this appeal, including £5 million matched by the UK Government

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people provided with food assistance (more that half the population of Cardiff)



people provided with clean water and sanitation services

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families provided with materials to build shelters

When violence broke out in Rakhine State, Myanmar, more than half a million people - mainly Rohingya women, children and older people - fled across the border into Bangladesh. The situation quickly spiraled into one of the world’s worst ever refugee emergencies.

In late August 2017, an eruption of violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, caused the mass movement of people across the border into Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. They arrived on foot and by boat, exhausted and hungry, with few possessions and very little money or food.

Most were deeply traumatised. Some had lost family members in their villages or along the way or had been subjected to rape and other forms of extreme violence. Their arrival put a massive strain on existing refugee camps and settlements which already housed an estimated 300,000 Rohingya refugees who had previously fled Rakhine State.

More than half of all new arrivals were children, and one in 10 were pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. People set up home in makeshift shelters made from bamboo and thin plastic. Fragile water and sanitation facilities were quickly overwhelmed, and the World Health Organization warned of a “very high” risk of a cholera outbreak.

As more and more Rohingya people fled into Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar became the site of the largest refugee camp on the planet.

An aerial view of the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh

The DEC’s appeal raised over £30million, including £5 million in Aid Match from the UK Government.

During the first six months of our response (October 2017 to March 2018), DEC member charities provided aid for more than 351,500 people.

Water and sanitation services were improved, with new or repaired infrastructure providing safe drinking water to over 124,000 people. Over 121,000 hygiene kits were distributed and more than 34,000 families received household goods including blankets and cooking equipment. 

Women sit in a circle at a women-friendly space

Visiting Cox's Bazar

Nicola from the DEC team visits Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

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Watch An update from Cox's Bazar on YouTube.

Health care services across the camp were supported, with more than 229,000 people receiving medical care or health assistance including immunisations and contraception. In addition, more than 300 people were trained to provide mental health or psychosocial support.

DEC funds also helped provide special support to women and girls, who were especially at risk of early marriage, exploitation, violence and trafficking. 53 safe spaces were set up to provide additional support to women, children and older people. 8,500 women and girls received dignity kits, which included sanitary pads, underwear and soap.

Sayed fled Myanmar with his three young children.

Sayed and his three children outside their shelter. Image: Paddy Dowling/DEC

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It took Sayed* and his children seven days to cross from Myanmar, eating bark from banana trees to survive. Sayed's wife died on the journey.

Thanks to your generous donations more than 124,000 people like Sayed* and his children gained access to safe clean water. His family also received cooking equipment, material to build their shelter and later, vouchers for fresh food.

"We're extremely happy to get these things when we have absolutely nothing," he said.

Noor Hasina uses a sewing machine

Noor Hasina uses a sewing machine in the women-friendly space. Image: Nusrat Daud Pritha/CARE

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Noor Hasina attends a women-friendly space set up by DEC member CARE International. Here, she creates clothes for herself and her family and, in a safe environment, can begin to rebuild her life.

Women and girls in the camps are at disproportionate risk of violence, including domestic abuse, forced and early marriage, exploitation and trafficking.

DEC member charities set up 53 safe spaces for women, children and older people. Around 8,500 women and girls received dignity kits containing items such as sanitary pads, underwear and soap and 30,000 people recieved information about gender based violence.