An emergency response humanitarian team is currently in the border town of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh to respond to the growing needs of internally displaced people (IDP) fleeing the violence in Rakhine state, Myanmar.
Tens of thousands of people have entered Bangladesh in the last 48 hours leading to the formation of multiple makeshift camps like Kutupalong. In the last two-weeks, more than 300,000 refugees have crossed over into Bangladesh in need of assistance.
Islamic Relief’s Zaid Al-Rawni, who is on the ground, has reported that smoke plumes could be seen where villages were being set alight.
“We are here on the border where so many families have been forced out of their homes and livelihoods. Everything that they have known for generations have been brutally taken away from them…[they] are being harassed and chased out of their own homes.”
Families have created shelter using bamboo sticks and tarpaulin sheets, and many do not have even this basic shelter to protect them from the heavy rains, which have been falling over the past few days.
Background to Rakhine Conflict
Since late August, the emergency situation in Rakhine State, Myanmar, has worsened with violent clashes reportedly resulting in over 1,000 dead since the latest outbreak of violence on August 25. The United Nations estimates that 290,000 people have fled for refuge in Bangladesh since then, whilst UNICEF reports estimates that 80% of refugees are women and children.
The arrivals of refugees in Bangladesh is raising fears of a fresh humanitarian disaster as already-crowded camps, which had already been housing 400,000 of the previously displaced, struggle to cope with the new influx.
Islamic Relief’s Response
Islamic Relief Myanmar has completed the distribution of 535 food packs to IDP’s who have fled the conflict in northern Rakhine, and are now sheltering in Sittwe Township.
More distributions of food, water and non-food items such as mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets are scheduled to take place over the next few days.
Urgent priority needs of IDPs that have fled to Bangladesh include safe water access, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities, food packs, non-food items and temporary shelter kits.
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