The Rohingya people have faced decades of systematic discrimination, statelessness and targeted violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar. Such persecution has forced Rohingya women, girls, boys and men into Bangladesh for many years, with significant spikes following violent attacks in 1978, 1991-1992, and again in 2016. Yet it was August 2017 that triggered by far the largest and fastest refugee influx into Bangladesh. Since then, an estimated 745,000 Rohingya—including more than 400,000 children—have fled into Cox’s Bazar.
In Myanmar, entire villages were burned to the ground, families were separated and killed, and women and girls were gang raped. Most of the people who escaped were severely traumatized after witnessing unspeakable atrocities. These people found temporary shelter in refugee camps around Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, which is now home to the world’s largest refugee camp.
As of March 2019, over 909,000 stateless Rohingya refugees reside in Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas. The vast majority live in 34 extremely congested camps, including the largest single site, the Kutupalong-Balukhali Expansion Site, which is host to approximately 626,500 Rohingya refugees.
More than one year into this multifaceted collaborative response, the situation has gradually begun to stabilize. Basic assistance has been provided, living conditions in the camps have improved somewhat and disaster risk mitigation measures have been largely successful. However, despite progress, the Rohingya remain in an extremely precarious situation. The root causes of their plight in Myanmar have not been addressed and their future is yet uncertain. Refugees have access to the basics, such as food and health care, but they are still extremely vulnerable, living in highly challenging circumstances, exposed to the monsoon elements and dependent on aid.
To address the ongoing needs, a new Joint Response Plan was launched in February 2019, requesting US$920.5 million to provide life-saving assistance to 1.2 million people, including Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar to Bangladesh and local host communities. As of 17 April, the appeal is 17 per cent funded. The priority needs in the plan, which covers the January-December 2019 timeframe, include food, water and sanitation, shelter, and medical care. View funding updates here.