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 per cent of refugees are women and children.
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.
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. As in any crisis, female-headed families are the most vulnerable due to their more limited access to resources.
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.