Red Cross Red Crescent providing vital relief to displaced people fleeing violence in Rakhine

Topics: Myanmar Refugee Crisis
October 18, 2017

A woman holds her baby

A woman holds her baby while waiting at a Japanese Red Cross Mobile clinic at Hakimpara Camp in Bangladesh. The two-month-baby has pneumonia and requires hospitalization. Photo: Angela Hill/IFRC

Double the Impact of Your Donation  

The Government of Canada has announced that for every donation made between August 25 to November 28 to Canadian charities, including the Canadian Red Cross, in support of this crisis will be matched in their Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund. Every gift made during this time will have double the impact to help vulnerable people during this humanitarian crisis.

Since late August, hundreds of thousands of people have fled violence in northern areas of Myanmar’s Rakhine State into Bangladesh. As of October 17, it’s estimated that over 537,000 people, many of whom are women and children, have crossed the border into Bangladesh.

The bulk of the new arrivals are sheltering in makeshift and spontaneous settlements in Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban Districts. There are thousands of people that are displaced at the borders of Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The displaced population do not have adequate access to safe water, health care, sanitation, or other essential services, and are fully dependent on humanitarian aid.

The Canadian Red Cross has launched the Myanmar Refugee Appeal to support this response and ease the suffering of those affected.

“What you first notice is just the sheer size and scale of the settlements that keep expanding every day,” as people flee violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, says Lauralee Morris, a Canadian doctor who just recently returned from Bangladesh after deployment with an assessment team for the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC).

“Already we can see that basically, these people need almost everything. They’re extremely vulnerable,” she added.

The Red Cross is working to ease the suffering of people who have fled their homes in pursuit of safety from the ongoing violence. Staff and volunteers are on the ground assisting as people move into camps and settlements. They will offer support over the days, weeks, months and years ahead as vulnerable people recover from this emergency situation.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is scaling up operations in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Teams are working around the clock to help everyone affected by the violence, but so much more assistance is needed.

The Norwegian and Finnish Red Cross, with support from the Canadian Red Cross, have opened a 60-bed hospital, with 30 staff, an operating theatre and an isolation unit in Bangladesh.

Canadian Red Cross, with support from the Government of Canada, has sent seven aid workers to Bangladesh to support humanitarian efforts in response to the Population Movement. The majority of these aid workers are directly supporting the Red Cross field hospital, and additional personnel will be deploying in the coming days.


Canadian Red Cross Appeals

When we launch an appeal, donations made in response to it are used to help individuals and communities identified in the appeal recover from emergencies and disasters. The funds will be designated for the purpose for which they were given. In the unlikely event that we raise more money than can be reasonably and effectively spent, we will strive to use any residual funds for similar purposes and/or in a similar geography and to respond to other disasters and humanitarian needs throughout the world.