1. Who are the Rohingya?
Often described as the “world’s most persecuted minority,” the Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, mostly concentrated in Rakhine, one of Myanmar’s poorest states. The Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for generations, many migrating from Bangladesh during British rule. After gaining independence, Myanmar, a majority Buddhist nation, refused to acknowledge the Rohingya as citizens, rendering them a stateless people.
Without recognition as citizens or permanent residents of the country, the Rohingya have limited access to education, jobs, and health services, resulting in chronic poverty and marginalization. Violence targeting Rohingya over the last several decades has driven hundreds of thousands to neighboring countries.
2. What is happening now?
More than 655,000 Rohingya people have crossed into Bangladesh since August 25, 2017, fleeing ethnic violence in Rakhine State in Myanmar’s southwest. 58% of them are children.Well over a third of Myanmar’s Rohingya population — roughly 1.1 million people — are now seeking safety elsewhere.
The mass exodus has increased the total Rohingya population in Bangladesh to more than 800,000. In particular, the number of Rohingya people in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar area has nearly tripled, and over half of the new arrivals are still living in informal settlements with little or no shelter, food, clean water, or sanitation. Most are completely dependent on support from aid agencies.
3. What help is needed most?
People are in continuing need of shelter, medical care, food, water, and sanitation facilities as they arrive exhausted and traumatized into overflowing camps and settlements.
Without proper water and sanitation facilities, waterborne illnesses can spread quickly in crowded camps, posing a particular risk to children and older people.
4. What is Concern doing?
With fears of malnutrition rising, our team has set up four nutrition centers and has been working flat out to screen children and rush those suffering from malnutrition through to treatment. So far, we have screened over 77,000 children, and referred over 3,000 for severe acute malnutrition treatment, and almost 12,000 for medium acute malnutrition. We have also counselled over 14,000 pregnant women and new mothers in infant feeding practices to empower them to prevent malnutrition where possible.
A recent agreement between the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar aims to repatriate many of those who have been displaced, but that will be a complex operation, which could take many months or even yeas. Our team on the ground aims to ensure that the basic needs of the most vulnerable are met and child malnutrition is identified and treated.
5. What can you do to help?
You can help us reach more Rohingya families in Bangladesh — and save more lives.