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Rohingya Crisis

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people have crossed over to Bangladesh. This is a large scale and escalating humanitarian crisis.

They are living in terrible conditions and need life-saving assistance now.

Oxfam is responding now, providing clean water and other essential supplies. 

You can help: Donate now 

Last updated: 13/04/18

Sameera, 7 years old Rohingya girl holds her younger brother Omar who is 7 months old in front of their temporary shelter in one of the camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Photo: Turjoy Chowdhury / Disasters Emergency Committee

Sameera, a seven year-old Rohingya girl holds her younger brother Omar, who is seven months, in front of their temporary shelter in one of the camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

The situation

Over a million people are estimated to be in need of assistance. This includes 300,000 who arrived before August 2017 as well as more than 600,000 new arrivals since then. It also includes 300,000 people in Bangladeshi host communities.

Vulnerable Rohingya refugees living in makeshift camps in Bangladesh now face further disaster, as monsoon rains and possible cyclones will cause floods and landslides and increase the risk of deadly disease.

More than 70% of the refugees are without adequate shelter and half have no safe drinking water.

Existing camps and the ones newly being set up are inadequate to deal with the massive influx, resulting in many seeking shelter under open skies, by the roadside and in forest areas with little or no protection. Those staying outside camps, in border areas have little or no access to clean drinking water. 

Water supply, water purification, and storage facilities are needed immediately. Due to the inadequate sanitation facilities, there's a high probability for the spread of waterborne diseases. 

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Tommy Trenchard / Oxfam

Laila* arrived on Shah Porir Dwip island on 30 September with her two young children. She initially spent the night taking shelter in a local school before travelling by boat to mainland Bangladesh. (* Name changed)

Tommy Trenchard / Oxfam

  • People are living in flimsy shelters made of tarpaulin and bamboo on bare soil - these will not be able to withstand major storms.
  • Close to 700,000 people are squashed into an area far too small to safely accommodate them - the number of people per square km is more than 1000 times what is recommended for refugee camps .
  • Heavy rains could make footpaths that refugees rely on to collect water and food, and go to the toilet, totally unusable. It's estimated that half a million people could struggle to get vital aid and services during the monsoon.
  • A quarter of latrines are at risk of being affected by floods and landslides.
  • More than half of the refugees are women and girls. Over half [60 percent] are children under 18 and around 3% are aged over 60. [Source: UNHCR household survey] There are 120,000 pregnant women and new mothers. Around 36,000 are unaccompanied children.

Oxfam's response

Oxfam is providing vital aid including clean water and food to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. So far, we've reached at least 240,000 people and we are planning to reach 300,000.

We have a team of 160 people in Cox's Bazar working hard to provide emergency aid in a $25 million response. This is currently Oxfam's third biggest humanitarian program - after Yemen and Ethiopia.

We're helping people stay healthy by installing water points, toilets and showers, distributing soap, and talking about good hygiene. We're installing a sewage facility for 50,000 people, which will rise to 100,000. To help local communities cope with water shortages, we are providing an average of 300,000 litres of chlorinated water daily in the Teknaf area.

We're providing 23,000 households with vouchers that can be exchanged at local markets for nutritious vegetables and ingredients to supplement their basic rations - including spinach, eggs, dried fish and spices.

We're installing lights along dark paths around the camp to make it easier and safer for people to reach water points and toilets, and distributing portable solar lamps so that people - especially women - feel safer leaving their shelters after dark.

We have recruited more than 300 Rohingya volunteers to help us train hundreds of refugees about the importance of good hygiene. We are also helping people to stay healthy by distributing soap and other essentials, such as washable sanitary pads for women.

Bekki Frost

15 tonnes of vital water and sanitation equipment was loaded onto trucks at the Oxfam Supply Centre in Bicester on 22 September.

Bekki Frost

Oxfam's Bekki Frost reports from Bangladesh on the plight of half a million Rohingya refugees.

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