Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 20 September 2017 — International aid agencies are struggling to meet the basic needs of people flowing into Bangladesh from Myanmar.
“This is desperate. It’s one of the biggest man-made crises and mass movements of people in the region for decades,” said Martin Faller, Deputy Regional Director, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
“All humanitarian agencies are working nonstop, but in the Cox’s Bazar area the enormous scale of this crisis means that hundreds of thousands of people are living in makeshift camps and spontaneous settlements with next to nothing.
“People have no food, water or shelter and they are in desperate need of support. No one should have to live like this,” Mr Faller said.
IFRC is working in support of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and alongside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other agencies, to provide food, thousands of litres of purified water and hundreds of portable water containers each day to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the new arrivals.
“Our teams in Cox’s Bazar have confirmed that people are pouring into Bangladesh every day. They arrive hungry and dehydrated, but there isn’t enough food for everyone. We’re distributing emergency food supplies, but it isn’t enough,” said Mozharul Huq, Secretary General, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.
“We are worried that children, pregnant women and older people will quickly become malnourished and sick. Safety issues are a mounting concern. We are working with other agencies to urgently create safe spaces for women and children.
“Each day our teams of doctors, nurses and paramedics are treating hundreds of injured and sick people but the queues keep getting bigger,” Mr Huq said.
Emergency food supplies are being rushed to the area for 75,000 people. More help is on its way.
IFRC has revised its existing emergency appeal for the Cox’ Bazar region and is urgently appealing for 12.7 million Swiss Francs so that it can set up field hospitals and water purification units to meet the essential needs of the displaced people in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Red Crescent is the country’s leading humanitarian organization. It has a strong presence in Cox’s Bazar, and is working closely with the Government of Bangladesh and Red Cross Red Crescent stakeholders involved in the humanitarian response, including UN agencies.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – the Myanmar Red Cross, Bangladesh Red Crescent, IFRC and ICRC – is scaling up operations in Myanmar and Bangladesh, including in border areas.