Since August 2017, more than 700,000 people from Myanmar's Rakhine state have fled to Bangladesh after an escalation of violence. Most of the refugees, around 80 per cent, are women, children and babies.

As thousands of people flee each week, some have not made the journey as boats have capsized and people have drowned. The bulk of those who have fled are living in makeshift camps, fields and muddy paths in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh across from the Myanmar border.

This scale of influx is putting enormous strain on the Bangladesh government and local communities who are already facing poverty.

People are in desparate need of shelter, food, clean water and sanitation and health services. A large number of children under five are suffering from severe malnutrition and there is also fear of a cholera oubreak. Women and girls in particular are at serious risk. CARE’s team have met women who have shared horrific stories of sexual violence, including rape and trafficking, experienced in their journey to escape Myanmar.


  • So far, CARE has reached more than 192,000 people with emergency response efforts focused on food, water, shelter, gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, hygiene and nutrition
  • CARE is currently helping to identify and treat cases of severe malnutrition in children under five
  • In the coming months, CARE will distribute hygiene and safe delivery kits and provide health services, including sexual, reproductive and maternal health
  • Four women-friendly spaces for 30,000 refugees will be established by CARE in the coming weeks to provide support to survivors of gender-based violence, to raise awareness of emergency care services, and to establish safe entry points for life-saving medical referrals and psychosocial support
  • CARE will also establish three mobile health clinics, where women and adolescent girls can seek support for family planning, maternal health and child care.

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.