In Their Shoes

Hundreds of thousands of people had to leave everything behind to flee violence in northern areas of Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Those who have travelled on foot and made perilous boat journeys over the last three months are facing an uncertain future.

Imagine having to escape violence in your home country.

You pick up what you can, but you need to leave right now, what would you take? The violence may be right at your door, you may become separated from family and friends in the chaos. Now you need to travel to another country and find shelter there.

Meet Baby Muhamed

At 8 months old, Muhamed has already had quite the journey, travelling with his mother across the border to safety in Bangladesh. Once he arrived, it was clear the little boy needed surgery – he had a collapsed lung.

Thankfully, the Red Cross field hospital had opened and was starting to accept patients. Muhamed was the first person the team operated on. “He’s come through surgery well, and he is getting the best care possible,” says his surgeon Cecilie Bjerke. With your help, the Red Cross field hospital will be there for hundreds of children like Muhamed who need our lifesaving help.

How We Help

Red Cross teams on the ground are working hard to meet the needs of those fleeing violence in makeshift settlements and crowded camps, where conditions are extremely difficult. Emergency food assistance, clean water, shelter and health services are being provided to families. Red Cross Red Crescent teams are providing medical help in the transit centre and meeting new arrivals in Mainnerghona camp. Every day, up to 100 volunteers from the Bangladesh Red Crescent are on the ground.


The Canadian Red Cross is supporting efforts to provide emergency relief and medical care to vulnerable people throughout the refugee camps. At the Red Cross emergency hospital, approximately 250 patients are treated each day. With the help of generous donations from Canadians, we have also sent a mobile health team to give essential health services to people who otherwise would be out of reach. The Government of Canada supports us in ensuring that emergency hospital equipment and aid workers are ready to go when needed.

Emotional support
and well-being

"There is certainly an enormous need for psychosocial support in these camps. What these people have witnessed, before and after leaving their homes, is unimaginable."

Sandra Damota, a Canadian psychosocial worker currently in Bangladesh

At least 11,500 people have been involved in psychosocial activities, including more than 4,400 children who have participated in resilience and play activities.

Unaccompanied children as young as ten, often caring for younger siblings, have received support from the response teams.

We are constructing Dignity Houses, which serve as a community space, offering water, shade and connection to information and services.


Huge numbers of children are arriving on their own and are highly vulnerable – girls are particularly at risk of trafficking and exploitation, which are both common in these types of crises. Safe spaces for women and children inside the camps have been created in order to provide protection, and to help reconnect children who have been separated from their parents.

The Red Cross has also put in place procedures to identify possible victims of human trafficking and exploitation, and has set up safe spaces where women and children can go to for support.

The people who have fled violence and lost everything deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Family reunion

Kjerstin Rastad from the Norwegian Red Cross psychosocial support team tells us the story of a little girl who couldn’t find her mother amidst the confusion when she arrived at the Transit Camp in the middle of the night.

Food, water and shelter

People arriving in camps are exhausted, dehydrated and hungry. Conditions in the camps and makeshift settlements are extremely harsh – people are living on steep, cramped hillsides under pieces of plastic sheeting. Some have been sleeping without adequate protection from the weather for more than a month.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent is distributing food, water, blankets, tarpaulins and other emergency relief items.

Your Help Is Urgently Needed

Those fleeing Myanmar only have what they could carry across the border.

Red Cross Red Crescent teams have been providing tarps, blankets, shelter items and food to people who are crossing and emergency food relief, health services, clean drinking water and safe spaces for children.

Trained medical workers are providing essential health services such as performing life-saving surgeries and delivering babies.

Your donation to the Myanmar Refugee Appeal helps us continue delivering humanitarian care and comfort to those who desperately need it.

Emergency supplies – Your support is needed to protect hundreds of thousands of families living in extremely difficult conditions.

  • $4 provides a jerrycan to bring water to families in need after a long journey
  • $15 provides two blanket to soothe and care for children who have experienced trauma
  • $60 provides a shelter kit and tarp to protect families from the end-of-season monsoon rains and the blistering sun
  • $80 provides two hygiene comfort kits including soap, wash cloths and baby wipes, to give families comfort and dignity
  • $100 provides three emergency birth kits to ensure babies are born safely and mothers are kept healthy during childbirth

How You Can Help

The complexity and speed of the humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh and Myanmar has been overwhelming as thousands of people flee violence in the northern areas of Myanmar’s Rakhine State into Bangladesh.

Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers and aid workers are working hard – often under very difficult circumstances – to provide critical assistance to those in need. And with more people arriving each day, medical needs are ever increasing and thousands of people need emergency care.

Even if the number of people impacted seems enormous to you, every bit you can contribute goes a long way to meeting their basic needs.