Bangladesh Rohingya refugee crisis

A father carries his son across a broken bridge on the edge of Balhukali camp, Bangladesh. Heavy rains flooded the areas where people had set up temporary shelters, forcing them to move to higher ground. Photo: Aurélie Marrier d’Unienville
A father carries his son across a broken bridge on the edge of Balhukali camp, Bangladesh. Heavy rains flooded the areas where people had set up temporary shelters, forcing them to move to higher ground. Photo: Aurélie Marrier d’Unienville

Close to a million Rohingya people have fled violence in Myanmar to seek refuge across the border in Bangladesh. This unprecedented number of refugees, of whom more than half are children, has caused a large-scale humanitarian crisis. Oxfam is responding, but we need your help.

The fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world

Rohingya people continue to face a human rights crisis two years on from the violence that displaced more than 700,000 of them from Myanmar’s Rakhine State to Bangladesh. They joined hundreds of thousands already living in refugee camps and with local communities. More than half of them are women and girls, 60 percent are children under 18.

Many have arrived injured and deeply traumatized by their experiences, with just the clothes on their backs. They need food, clean water and shelter to survive, but above all they need to feel safe. People are living in makeshift tents in hugely overcrowded settlements. Conditions in the camps are woefully inadequate and unhealthy, with overflowing latrines and contaminated water. They’re largely unlit and dangerous at night – women, girls and children are particularly vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and trafficking.

Oxfam is responding

We are currently focusing on providing water and sanitation, food, and adapting to better deal with the crowded conditions and sheer numbers of people in the camps.

  • We’ve opened the biggest-ever sewage plant in a refugee camp, funded by UNHCR, which serves 100,000 people.
     
  • We’ve designed a solar-powered water network to distribute safe chlorinated water more effectively to refugees.
     
  • We’re helping people stay healthy by installing water points, toilets and showers, and distributing soap and other essentials like sanitary cloths. We have recruited more than 600 Rohingya volunteers to help us reach 165,000 other refugees with information about safe hygiene.
     
  • We have installed solar-powered lights around the camps and provided torches and portable solar lanterns so that refugees – especially women – feel safer leaving their shelters after dark to reach water points and toilets.
     
  • We have employed over 1,800 Bangladeshi locals on community construction projects including repairs to roads, schools and water sources.
     
  • We’re also giving refugees vouchers that can be exchanged at local markets for additional food and for clothing and other items like torches and rubber boots.

In Myanmar, we are building toilets, providing clean water and educating communities about safe hygiene practices. Through this work, we are also supporting Rohingya people, especially women, to participate in decision-making processes that affect them and to take on leadership roles in their communities.

So far, we have reached at least 360,000 people in Bangladesh and we continue to support 100,000 Rohingya in Myanmar with clean water and sanitation services. But we urgently need to reach more people and we can’t do it without you.