Mounting tragedy for people fleeing Myanmar

By IFRC

When Rehana Begum, 20, fled Myanmar for Bangladesh she was heavily pregnant with twins, struggling for three days across mountains and spending two further days sleeping on the side of the road once she crossed the border.

On the day she arrived at Unchiprang camp, an informal settlement for new arrivals, she gave birth to a boy and a girl. The baby boy died during childbirth, and her husband Sulaiman had to bury him in an unmarked grave in the mud next to their tent.

Rehana and Sulaiman also have a three-year-old son. The small family lives in a tent with no water or food and the exhausted mother prays every day for help to arrive. She doesn’t know how she will take care of her new born or deal with the loss of her son.

The humanitarian crisis in Cox’s Bazar is one of the region’s largest man-made humanitarian crises in decades. More than 415,000 people have fled Rakhine State in Myanmar, arriving in Bangladesh in desperate conditions. As the informal settlements and camps swell with the heavy influx of new arrivals, access to shelter, water, sanitation, food and health services are urgent priorities.

Bangladesh Red Crescent Society volunteers and staff are on the ground, doing all they can to support people as they arrive.

The IFRC has launched a revised emergency appeal for 12.7 million Swiss francs to support to Bangladesh Red Crescent to respond to the most urgent needs of the 100,000 new arrivals from Myanmar within food, shelter, healthcare, capacity and resources. IFRC is urgently seeking more contribution to the appeal which is being implemented in coordination with other actors.