Over 430,000 Rohingya refugees have been forced to flee to Bangladesh since August 2017.

Thousands are arriving every day exhausted, hungry, and sick after walking for days from their villages through jungles, across mountains and rivers carrying what little they could bring from home. They join more than 350,000 refugees who have already sought protection across Bangladesh.

UNHCR’s two refugee camps in Bangladesh are now completely overcrowded, with families spilling out into makeshift sites along roadsides. An unknown number could still be stranded at the border.

Additionally, due to monsoon conditions, many of the temporary shelters are flooded and it has become very difficult for people to keep warm and dry. There is also an increased risk of communicable diseases, infection, cholera and respiratory infections. 

UNHCR is on the ground distributing vital aid items, including:

  • plastic tarpaulins for emergency shelter
  • clothing
  • mosquito nets
  • jerry cans
  • sleeping mats
  • solar lamps

Three UNHCR airlifts have delivered enough core relief supplies to assist some 120,00 refugees, with more airlifts planned. 

On 19 September, UNHCR escalated the crisis to a Level 3 emergency. This is the highest category of emergency and is declared when a crisis is complex and fast growing, and the needs of refugees are extremely urgent. 


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Your donations in action

The majority of Rohingya refugees fleeing to Bangladesh are women and children.

Protection Protection

Rohingya families are walking barefoot for days to reach safety in Bangladesh.

Safe Places Safe Places

Thousands of Rohingya refugees are streaming across the border into Bangladesh every day.

Registration Registration

Many Rohingya women and children are arriving without husbands and fathers.

Reuniting Families Reuniting Families

Get the facts about our impact

Shelter Shelter Shelter
Food Food Food
Education Education Education
Protection Protection Protection
Cash Assistance Cash Assistance Cash Assistance
Supplies Supplies Supplies

Providing Shelter

UNHCR provides refugees with emergency shelter — tents, tarpaulins and demountable housing — in the immediate aftermath of displacement. More broadly, we are responsible for site planning and camp management to ensure refugee settlements are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. For those living outside camps, UNHCR funds the rehabilitation of communal shelters, the construction of new homes and rental assistance for those in urban situations. UNHCR also provides materials that displaced people need to build a home themselves under self-help schemes.

Providing Food 

Malnutrition is a common consequence of conflict and displacement. UNHCR works with the World Food Programme (WFP) to ensure that all refugees have access to adequate nutrient-rich food. UNHCR assists with the distribution of food rations in camps and provide urban refugees with vouchers and cash assistance for the purchase of food and groceries. In acute situations, UNHCR supports emergency nutrition and therapeutic feeding programs, supplying fortified milks and ready-to-use therapeutic foods.

Providing Education

Education is a crucial part of refugee relief, even in emergencies. School provides a safe and stable environment for children, restoring their sense of normality and routine, and allowing them to receive important health and safety messages. Education also helps people rebuild their communities and pursue productive, meaningful lives. Where refugees live in the community, UNHCR negotiates with governments to allow them access to local schools. In refugee camps, UNHCR promotes education for children and adults, operating schools and vocational training programs.

Providing Protection

People fleeing war, disaster or persecution can be very vulnerable. UNHCR supplies displaced people with essential items, food and shelter to protect them from having to make dangerous decisions to survive. On a larger scale, UNHCR negotiates safe passage, asylum spaces and humanitarian access, upholding the rights of refugees and minimising the threat of violence, including sexual assault.

During the registration process, UNHCR workers identify displaced Yemenis who may be in need of additional protection. These include unaccompanied children, children at risk of being subjected to child labour, and survivors of gender-based violence. Protection outreach teams also visit hospitals in search of injured refugees and displaced people, and monitor houses accommodating the war-wounded. This allows them to identify people in need of specific support or legal assistance.

Providing Cash Assistance

Most refugees live in places where they have access to markets and services in the same way that local communities do. Providing refugees with cash, by way of a secure biometric system, enables them to make decisions about their personal needs. This also helps prevent refugees being forced into desperate measures such as undertaking dangerous journeys, taking children out of school or survival sex. Cash assistance also helps refugees to support the local economy, aiding social integration.

Humanitarian access is a major concern in Yemen. UNHCR has established new partnerships with local organisations in order to reach more people affected by the crisis. UNHCR uses cash-based interventions to provide protection, assistance and services to the most vulnerable. Cash and vouchers help the displaced meet their specific needs for food, water, healthcare and shelter and allow them to establish and support their livelihoods.

Providing Supplies

UNHCR distributes life-sustaining items such as mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, stoves and fuel, soap and other sanitary items to refugees under its care. These supplies are tailored to the specific needs of the refugee population: for example, winterisation kits are distributed in camps and communities where sub-zero temperatures occur. UNHCR maintains global stockpiles of core relief items for immediate delivery in emergency situations.

UNHCR has distributed relief items including blankets, sleeping mats, buckets, plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, tents and emergency shelter kits to hundreds of thousands of displaced people inside Yemen. As part of its winterisation program, UNHCR sends protection outreach teams to conduct home visits and assess living conditions. The most vulnerable families receive thermal blankets and advice on how to prepare for winter storms.

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