More than 620,000 people have fled Myanmar for safety in Bangladesh


626,000 people[i], mostly Rohingya women and children, have fled violence in Myanmar since 25 August 2017. Refugees arriving in Bangladesh are hungry, traumatized and in need of food, water, medical care and shelter.

Bangladesh now hosts more than 800,000[ii] refugees and this number continues to rise daily. The new arrivals are adding massive pressure to services in existing refugee camps and in makeshift settlements around Cox’s Bazar, where the population count has quadrupled since late August.  Basic services are desperately required to meet the needs of the growing population. Conditions in the overcrowded camps are now so critical that outbreaks of communicable diseases are likely. 

On 23 November, a deal was struck between the Government of Myanmar and Bangladesh for the return of people who have fled across the border.  The repatriation is due to start in January 2018, but much needs to be determined including the criteria for return, safeguards for the Rohingya people against further violence and a path to resolve their legal status. The DEC will be monitoring this situation closely so that DEC member charities can respond to a changing situation. 

It is estimated that $434 million is required to support the affected population; 1.2 million people, including current and new refugees and the host communities, between October 2017 and February 2018. As of end November 2017, only 34% of this funding had been met, although more funds have been pledged.

The DEC Emergency appeal for people fleeing Myanmar

  • DEC’s Emergency appeal for people fleeing Myanmar was launched on 4 October 2017 and has already raised over £21 million, including £5 million from the UK Aid Match Scheme.
  • All DEC member charities are working in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar through direct operations or supporting local and international partners.
  • DEC member charities plan to reach up to 500,000 people with some form of humanitarian assistance from DEC funds by March 2018.
  • In the first six months of the DEC-funded response, until end of March 2018, DEC member charities plan to provide:
    • Food parcels for 217,295 people, to include items such as rice, lentils and oil
    • Shelter kits to provide shelter for up to 10,000 households
    •  Basic household item packages for up to 10,000 households, including blankets, mattresses, pots and pans, plates and cups 
    •  Access to basic health services for 160,000 people 
    •  Protection and support for 140,000, mainly women and girls, with psycho-social counselling, dignity kits and access to safe spaces
    •  Access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation for more than 250,000 people

Notes to editors:

  1. Media enquiries: please call the DEC press office on 0207 255 9111 or 07930 999 014
  2. Nicola Peckett, Director of Communications has just returned from the camps in Bangladesh, now home to 620,000 people who have fled Myanmar since 25 August 2017, and is available for interview.
  3. Film footage and stills are available to illustrate the crisis and the aid response in operation.
  4. The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.
  5. The UK Government has supported the appeal through UK Aid Match, by matching pound for pound money donated by the British public up to £5 million.
  6. References:
    • [i] ISCG Situation Update: Rohingya Refugee Crisis 5 December 2017
    • [ii] OCHA: Rohingya Refugee Crisis