Rohingya Refugee Emergency

Rohingya refugees are fleeing

violence in Myanmar at a staggering rate

and the numbers keep growing.

500,000 Rohingya children, women and men have fled to Bangladesh escaping violence in Myanmar since August 25, 2017.

They arrive exhausted, hungry and sick after walking for days through jungles, across mountains and rivers carrying what little they can bring from home. There is an urgent need for emergency shelters and core relief items as more refugees arrive every day.

The stateless Rohingya minority in Myanmar have been described by the United Nations as “the most persecuted people in the world.” The vast majority of Rohingya refugees reaching Bangladesh during this latest crisis are women and children, including newborn babies. Many others are elderly people requiring additional aid and protection.

Camps are at the breaking point, and many refugees are now living outside the camps in makeshift settlements and temporary shelters – often nothing more than tarpaulin held on bamboo poles.

New arrivals struggle to find space in the already-overcrowded Kutupalong camp, which saw over 16,000 new arrivals within a week of the outbreak of violence in Myanmar on 25 August, 2017. ; Officials in Bangladesh are warning of a humanitarian crisis as an estimated 73,000 Rohingya seek safety in already strained refugee camps. Whole families, young mothers and unaccompanied minors are among those fleeing for their lives since fighting reignited in late-August 2017. They walk barefoot for days, wading through vast rice fields, having left most of their possessions behind. Large groups have been crossing into the Ukhiya and Teknaf areas of south-eastern Bangladesh bordering Myanmar. Many are hungry, in poor physical condition and in need of life-saving support. They are congregating at the long-established camps Kutupalong and Nayapara, as well as makeshift sites and local villages that have hosted several hundred thousand Rohingya since the mass displacement of the early 1990s. “Every available space is occupied,” reported Mohammad Abul Kalam, the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner in Cox’s Bazar. “I’m not sure how long we can sustain this.”

Above: New arrivals struggle to find space in the already-overcrowded camp. 500,000 have fled violence in Myanmar in recent weeks. 

Your help is needed…

As violence in the region continues to escalate, those who flee need protection, shelter, medical care and other lifesaving assistance.

Thanks to supporters, UNHCR is on the ground coordinating a massive refugee response in Bangladesh and leading efforts to provide shelter and care for those displaced.

The first two UNHCR emergency airlifts carrying 3,500 relief items and 1,700 family tents arrived in Bangladesh on 13 September – enough to meet the immediate needs of 25,000 refugees. More flights are being planned but the situation grows more dire every day.

Your donation today will go directly to helping Rohingya refugees suffering during this crisis. Please be generous.



Those whose lives have been uprooted and torn apart by conflict or natural disaster, UNHCR exists to help them. This is the UNHCR story.