Myanmar-Bangladesh Refugee Crisis

World Vision is responding to the urgent needs of thousands of refugees, most of whom identify as Rohingya, who've fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State.

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This is the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world – and one of the biggest man-made disasters in the region for decades. Children and families fleeing violence are in desperate need. 

Myanmar refugees – latest news

Latest reports indicate that more than 600,000 people (most of whom identify as Rohingya) have crossed into the Cox's Bazar area of south-eastern Bangladesh since conflict broke out in Rakhine State in western Myanmar in late August 2017.

This is in addition to more than 200,000 refugees from Myanmar already sheltering in the area before the latest outbreak of violence.

Host communities are absorbing new arrivals and providing whatever they can in the way of shelter and food assistance. Many refugees are still on the move, taking shelter along roadsides or in makeshift settlements. Recent monsoon rains are making conditions for the refugees even more difficult. 

Without immediate access to water and sanitation facilities there is a high risk of disease outbreaks; some refugees are resorting to drinking water from paddy fields.


children need educational support


refugees need shelter


children are malnourished and need treatment

World Vision's response

Currently, 45 World Vision staff are serving around 5 million people across Bangladesh through various programs, including education, health and nutrition. We have been present in Bangladesh since 1970, and scaled up our programming last year to also provide relief to refugees near Cox’s Bazar.

World Vision is working in nine of 25 camp districts near Cox’s Bazar. We are the leading agency for camp coordination for the Burma Para refugee camp. 

We have distributed food packages to 135,250 refugees living in makeshift settlements in Cox's Bazar. These contain enough rice, lentils, salt, oil and sugar to last for two weeks.

More than 10,000 families have received shelter kits, including tarps, ropes, blankets and sleeping mats. A total of 2,307 children have attended our child friendly spaces.

For sanitation, 145 gender-sensitive bathing spaces have been set up for 7,250 women and girls. There are now 51 wells dug to provide clean water for 25,550 people, and more than 1,000 toilets built as well.

World Vision will continue to strengthen its already extensive operations in the Cox’s Bazar camps to help refugees, particularly in monsoon season.

The situation in Rakhine State

On 25 August, conflict erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine State, sparking a security crackdown. Violence has driven more than 600,000 people (most of whom identify as Rohingya) across the border into Bangladesh.

World Vision had been providing food through an established aid program in northern Rakhine State without incident since 2016.

As of 25 August, all World Vision staff have been evacuated from Rakhine State and international NGOs are now excluded from the area. World Vision, along with other aid agencies, has written to the government on behalf of those in need, asking to be granted access.

Tim Costello visits the Myanmar-Bangladesh border

Recently, World Vision Australia Chief Advocate Tim Costello visited the refugee camp at Cox’s Bazar on the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar, where he was distressed by the conditions he found.

“I have been to lots of terrible refugee camps but this tops the list,” said Tim. “This felt like the gates of hell.”

Mr Costello said that the endless number of refugees fleeing from Rakhine State in Myanmar was creating impossible conditions for Bangladesh – a country that already suffers from the effects of overcrowding and poverty.

Along with critical food assistance and health services, Tim said that it’s vital to restore a sense of hope to the refugees trapped at the border. “These people are stateless, they are now homeless and they are hopeless,” he said. “We must provide immediate aid but also a longer sense of hope and purpose.”

I’ve met mothers who should be breastfeeding and cannot lactate, and they now have malnourished children. Many walk 10 days without food just to get here because their villages were burned.

Tim Costello, World Vision Australia Chief Advocate

World Vision Australia Chief Advocate Tim Costello visits the Myanmar-Bangladesh border

Tim Costello discusses the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.


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The cost per beneficiary is calculated based on the current project budget for the emergency relief response, which includes estimated beneficiary numbers and also incorporates costs associated with the global coordination of the disaster relief activities. World Vision Australia has capped its overheads at 10 percent to cover its fundraising and administration activities to support this appeal. 

Funds raised for an emergency appeal are applied to the emergency response and for rehabilitation activities in the affected areas. Should the funds raised exceed the amount required to meet the emergency needs of the people in affected areas, or if there are changes in circumstances beyond World Vision's control that limit its ability to use all funds in the affected areas, World Vision will use the excess funds to help people in other emergency situations.

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