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February 13, 2022

The Plight of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar

Rohingya Refugees

February 13, 2022

The Plight of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar

Rohingya Refugees

As of 31 July 2019, UNHCR records that over 742,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to refugee camp sites in Bangladesh since 25 August 2017.

  • Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh is currently the largest refugee camp in the world.
  • Rohingya Refugees are in need of international protection and humanitarian help.

The plight of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar is immense right now.

Who are the Rohingya Refugees?

UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the Rohingya as, “one of, if not the, most discriminated people in the world.”

Rohingya Muslims are one of the many ethnic minorities in Myanmar. However, in 2017, there was an extreme government crackdown. And Rohingya Muslims had to leave Myanmar to protect themselves from violence. The vast majority fled to Bangladesh, where they now live in tightly packed refugee camps. 

Rohingya Refugee Emergency at a Glance

Rohingya refugees are straining services and resources as the emergency and pandemic continue. According to the UNHCR;


Approximately 671,000 Refugees settled in Cox’s Bazar district since 2017


Materials like bamboo, rope, and tarpaulins have been used to build more than 50,000 shelters. 75% of families share households/shelters


93% of refugees live below UNHCR’s emergency standard of 45 square meters per person

Natural Disaster Risks

Tropical monsoon climate weathers Cox’s Bazar. The area is prone to natural disasters because the weather changes with the seasons. From November to March, it is dry, and from April to October, it rains 72% of the time.  Cyclones may also hit Cox’s Bazar.


Over 23,000 people are at risk of serious landslides


Over 400 hectares of flood-prone areas in Bangladesh. Floods affecting nearly 80,000 people

Public Health Services 

There are 149 clinics and 20 vaccination centers in Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugee sites. As the pandemic gets worse, there are more deaths and diseases. There are a lot of respiratory infections and diarrheal diseases, like cholera, hepatitis E, and measles.

Nutrition & Food Security 

Acute malnutrition and anemia are common in 6-59-month-olds, exceeding the emergency threshold.

Water & Sanitation 

They need longer-term and sustainable sanitation solutions There are 7,275 hand pumps in the refugee campsites,

  • 80% functional hand pumps.
  • 99% of refugee populations live within 200 meters of functioning hand pumps.
  • 3,275 of the hand pumps are in landslide or flood-prone refugee campsites.
  • Escherichia coli has spread to 42% of water samples (Dec 2017).

UMR Interventions

UMR, in coordination with partners, works to provide ambulatory medical care to Rohingya refugees. Bangladesh has authorized very few medical teams and we are one of them. The government lets us treat young children who would otherwise get diseases that are easy to avoid. Such as the flu, which is lethal in camp settings. 

We coordinate with Bangladeshi NGOs for medical staff and logistics support to gain access to the internal parts of the camp. UN’s health cluster and volunteer doctors hired through IMANA is running this project.

Since its beginning in 2017, our project has helped many Rohingya refugees.

As COVID-19 spreads, experts expect that:

“This pandemic might give Bangladesh a decades-long setback.”

Families live with up to 10 people in one room in the sweltering heat, making social distancing impossible. 

With numbers upward of 19,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Bangladesh, it is only a matter of time before it spreads throughout the entire camp. 

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