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Myanmar Refugee Crisis

A man and woman wade through the ocean while carrying two small children. Behind them are people crawling out of a small boat.

CARE / Kathleen Prior

CARE / Kathleen Prior


Refugees fleeing violence face hard living conditions in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar.

About the Myanmar Refugee Crisis

Since August 2017, more than 744,400 people from Myanmar have fled to Bangladesh after an escalation of violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, bringing the total of Myanmar refugees to 915,000. Around 80 percent of the refugees are women and children who trekked barefoot for days, through fields, jungles and rivers to get to Bangladesh. Many of the women had to make the journey while pregnant or carrying small children.

In Balukhali Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, women lack privacy, safe places to sleep, clean sanitation facilities and mental health support. In addition, a lot of them do not have the means to feed their children and worry for their mental and physical health; many children are suffering from traumatic experiences, skin diseases, diarrhea and fevers. Gender-based violence poses a serious threat.

More than 915,000 people have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar.

of Myanmar refugees are women and children.

of Myanmar refugees are women and children.

The environmental conditions in the refugee settlements, the lack of proper site planning and the recurring rainy seasons have the potential of negatively impacting refugees through landslides, strong winds and rains, relocation, and more. The most vulnerable families are likely to be the first and most affected. Like in every crisis, female-headed families are the most vulnerable due to their more limited access to resources.

A woman wearing bright pink and bright green rests against a post. She is holding a large silver jug in her arm. Behind her are a row of tents covered in tarps.
CARE / Nancy Farese

What CARE is Doing

CARE Bangladesh’s emergency team is working in Cox’s Bazar district, distributing food and working to provide safe shelter and conduct regular maintenance to shelters, provide health services, sanitary facilities and protection. To ensure timely, efficient and effective response to emerging needs, CARE, as site manager and protection officer, will maintain a contingency stock of shelter kits to be distributed to the most vulnerable families, or in the event of a large-scale natural disaster.

CARE has directly reached more than 315,000 people through the distribution of food, non-food items, health and nutrition support, shelter, protection and water and sanitation services. Also, over 180,000 children have been reached through the community-based management of acute malnutrition project for which CARE provides technical support to a consortium.

CARE has worked in Bangladesh since 1949, and has extensive experience responding to humanitarian disasters. CARE has worked in Cox’s Bazar district, where most refugees have sought shelter, for many years, working in the areas of food security, disaster risk reduction, women’s empowerment and emergency response. In the last five years, CARE Bangladesh has supported more than 450,000 people with life-saving assistance.