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04 October 2017

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A mother holds her crying child as several Rohingyas take shelter from the ongoing rain in Kutupalong. Photo: Muse Mohammed / IOM 2017

Why We Must Intervene to End the Suffering of Rohingya Refugees in Cox’s Bazar

By William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Geneva (IOM) - In late August, I was alerted by our Chief of Mission in Dhaka to a new exodus of people fleeing Myanmar’s North Rakhine State and arriving in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district. They were seeking protection in the same makeshift camps where over 80,000 of their community have found safety since an earlier outbreak of violence in October 2016.       

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, which I lead, coordinates the work of humanitarian agencies in Cox’s Bazar on behalf of the Bangladesh Government. As I write, the influx, which has continued to this day, has now reached over half a million people. They join an estimated 200,000 Rohingya already living in the makeshift settlements in often wretched conditions.

The world has reacted with horror to the images of their flight, and the stories of murder, rape and arson brought from their still smoldering villages in North Rakhine State. But this horror will have to be matched by action on the part of the international community, if we are to avert a humanitarian disaster on both sides of the border. Today IOM appealed for USD 120 million between now and February 2018 to begin to address this humanitarian crisis. 

Click here for press release on IOM appeal

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Mohamed grips a large bottle of water, unsure of where he will get his next. Photo: Muse Mohammed / IOM 2017

Agencies Struggle to Deliver Aid to Congested, Inaccessible Rohingya Refugee Settlements

Bangladesh (IOM) – It’s now some forty days since the first of an estimated 507,000 people fled across the border to Bangladesh. While the mass exodus seen in the first few weeks has eased, Rohingya families — mostly women and children — are still coming on foot and by boat.

They arrive with the bare minimum. Exhausted, hungry, sick and often traumatized, they need a range of life saving services that aid agencies are still struggling to provide.

Their plight has touched the world. But less than half of an initial appeal for $77 million has been funded and much more will be needed to deliver the lifesaving services they will need through the next six months.

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The Rohingya crisis has been called the "world’s fastest developing refugee emergency".  IOM continues to document what's happening on the ground. Watch this 360 degree video. 




IOM Appeal | Rohingya Refugee Crisis | Read more



Besides the options identified above, on how you can support the humanitarian response to the Rohingya refugee crisis, please note you can also contact IOM directly by emailing drd@iom.int. No contribution is too small.


Migration in the News


  • IPS reported that of the nearly half a million Rohingya refugees who’ve fled across the border from Myanmar and have sought refuge in Bangladesh, women and girls are most at risk.
  • Bangladesh Today reported that the British government has organisd a major airlift of relief items to help some of the estimated 507,000 Rohingyas who have fled to Bangladesh in the past month. 
  • The Daily Star reported that the Bangladeshi government has started relocating 26,000 Rohingyas from Naikhongchhari area of Bandarban to Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar. 
  • News Deeply published a detailed investigation of the migrant smuggling and exploitation ‘business’ in Libya. 
  • Voice of America reported the UN has warned that many innocent lives could be endangered in the coming days as the Iraqi army and its allies continue to press for the last pockets of the so-called Islamic State in Hawija and Anbar. 
  • Just Earth News reported that growing violence in south-eastern areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has driven at least 4,460 refugees into northern Zambia over the past month. 
  • Xinhua reported that two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Dominica, people affected by the category five hurricane are still in desperate need of assistance. 
  • The Korea Herald reported about the stigma against ethnic Korean-Chinese community or joseok-jok which is largely based on some highly publicized criminal cases involving ethnic Korean-Chinese over the past decade. 


Trending on the Internet


  • The Conversation ran an article from University of Oxford’s Sergi Pardos-Prado who suggests that the policies that work best at integrating migrants are actually those which offer incentives and rewards for long-term settlement and commitment to a host country. 
  • The Irish Times reported about the Tenement Museum in New York that preserves the history of more than 7,000 immigrants from more than 20 nations that lived, often in very cramped conditions, in the building between 1863 and 1935.



Media Contacts

Hala Jaber in Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +8801733335221, Email: hjaberbent@iom.int
Peppi Siddiq in Dhaka, Tel: +8801755568894, Email: pksiddiq@iom.int