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Rohingya refugee crisis: Humanitarian partners continue to scale up operations despite huge funding needs

09 Oct 2017


Violence in Rakhine State, which began on 25 August 2017, has driven an estimated 519,000 Rohingya across the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The speed and scale of the influx has resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency, as services that were available prior to the influx are now under severe strain. Some of the spontaneous sites have no access to water and sanitation facilities, raising the risk of a disease outbreak.

The Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar is highly vulnerable, having fled conflict and experienced severe trauma, and now living in extremely difficult conditions. They arrive in Bangladesh with few possessions, and they have used the majority of their savings on transportation and constructing shelters, often out of bamboo and thin plastic. They are now reliant on humanitarian assistance for food, clean water and other basic, essential needs.

Humanitarian partners have swiftly scaled up the response, working closely with the Government of Bangladesh to increase relief operations. Surge staff and supplies continue to arrive in Cox’s Bazar.

Humanitarian response

As of 4 October, humanitarian partners had provided the following assistance to meet the most urgent needs:


Approximately 515,000 people have received some type of food assistance since 25 August.



Approximately 139,000 children under age 5 and pregnant or lactating women have been reached with nutrition programmes since 25 August.



Approximately 57,600 households have received emergency shelter kits, benefiting 288,000 people. These materials enable families to rapidly construct temporary emergency shelters.



Since 25 August, nearly 334,000 people have received WASH assistance. More than 8,100 emergency latrines have been built and are being maintained by humanitarian partners.



Approximately 210,000 people have received health-care assistance since 25 August. More than 135,000 children have been vaccinated against measles and rubella, and more than 72,000 children have been vaccinated against polio. A cholera-vaccination campaign is being planned for the week of 10-16 October and will target the entire refugee and host population.


Funding needs

To account for the rapidly increasing needs, humanitarian partners have revised the initial response plan, which now aims to assist 1.2 million people – including new refugees, prior refugees and host communities – at a total cost of US$434 million. As of 9 October, only 24 per cent of these requirements had been met, although donors have pledged millions more.