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Violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar

Violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar

Violence in Rakhine State in Myanmar has led to over 693,000 people fleeing over the border to Bangladesh since 25 August 2017. Most of these people arrived with few or no possessions and are reliant on humanitarian aid to survive. Almost 60 percent of new arrivals are children.

Australia is working closely with humanitarian partners to provide assistance to displaced people and host communities, both in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Australia's humanitarian assistance

  • Australia has committed $51.5 million towards humanitarian response efforts since August 2017, including $7.5 million in Myanmar and $44 million in Bangladesh. Funding is helping to deliver essential services, restore safety and dignity and prepare for the upcoming monsoon season.
  • Australian assistance is being provided through trusted humanitarian partners, including the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Australian NGOs and BRAC (the world's largest NGO).
  • Our assistance includes support to communities still in Rakhine State, provided through agencies with ongoing access.
  • Australian support is providing food, nutrition, shelter, trauma counselling, clean water and education to communities in need. Our support is particularly focused on the needs of women, girls, and children, and is helping to keep these vulnerable people safe.
  • Australia is one of the largest donors to response efforts to this crisis.

Factsheet: Australia's assistance in response to displacement from Rakhine State, Myanmar [PDF 557 KB] | [DOCX 292 KB]

Myanmar – Bangladesh Joint Emergency Appeal

The Australian Government partnered with eight leading humanitarian agencies in a joint appeal to help Rohingya in need of assistance following the outbreak of violence in Myanmar in 2017.

From 11 November – 9 December 2017, the Australian public donated more than $5.3 million dollars to these agencies, which include the Australian Red Cross, Australia for UNHCR, CARE Australia, Caritas Australia, Oxfam Australia, Plan International Australia, Save the Children Australia and World Vision Australia.

The Australian Government provided $5 million in matched donations to the Australian Red Cross and Australia for UNHCR, which brought the total of the joint appeal to more than $10.3 million.

BRAC's activities with displaced communities

In 2017-18 Australia has provided $5 million in funding to BRAC, the world's largest local NGO. BRAC is working with displaced people and host communities in Cox's Bazar to provide healthcare, clean water, and safe spaces for children. BRAC has already installed over 870 wells, distributed 5,000 litres of safe drinking water, built over 2,700 toilets, and provided over 4,000 children and youth with safe play and recreation spaces. Our funding will help BRAC to continue this work and reach even more people.

Video: BRAC's pink vests: On the ground with Asif Saleh

WFP providing food and nutrition with Australia's support

With $13 million in support from Australia in 2017-18, the World Food Programme (WFP) will provide food and nutrition to people in Cox's Bazar. Funding from Australia is helping WFP deliver in-kind food rations to families and combating malnutrition by providing women and children with high-nutrient porridge.

WFP is providing food assistance to people displaced to Bangladesh.
WFP is providing food assistance to people displaced to Bangladesh. Credit: WFP

Working with Australian NGOs

Australia is providing $6 million in 2017-18 through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership to Save the Children Australia and Oxfam Australia (partnering with CARE Australia).

This assistance will reach up to 120,000 of the most vulnerable women, men, girls, boys and people with disabilities in the Cox's Bazar district. It is helping to meet basic food, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene needs. Additionally, this assistance is establishing education and child friendly spaces, helping unaccompanied children find their families and providing counselling for children who have been impacted by violence or trauma.

Save the Children Australia will provide shelter and food to people displaced to Bangladesh.
Save the Children Australia will provide shelter and food to people displaced to Bangladesh. Credit: Save the Children
Oxfam Australia, partnering with CARE Australia and CBM Australia, will provide clean water to people in Cox's Bazar. Credit: Oxfam
Oxfam Australia, partnering with CARE Australia and CBM Australia, will provide clean water to people in Cox's Bazar. Credit: Oxfam

Clean water and shelter for affected communities through IOM

DFAT is providing $6.5 million in 2017-18 to IOM to support people in Bangladesh who have fled Myanmar. IOM is working through local partners to provide plastic sheeting for shelter, clean water, access to education counselling and psychological support for survivors of violence and mental trauma, and access to education. IOM is also providing services to respond to the diphtheria outbreak, including vaccinations and treatment.

International Organization for Migration is setting up tanks to provide clean water in settlements in Cox's Bazar. Credit: IOM

Protecting women and girls through UNFPA

An estimated 64,000 Rohingya women in Cox's Bazar are pregnant and all women and girls are at risk of sexual and gender-based violence. UNFPA is working in Cox's Bazar to provide health and protection for women and girls. Australia's funding of $4.5 million is supporting UNFPA to provide sexual and reproductive health services to approximately 118,000 women and provide medical care, counselling and referral services to women and girls affected by violence.

Travel advice

Please visit the Smartraveller website for the latest Australian travel advice for Myanmar and Cox's Bazar region of Bangladesh. As at 21 May, Smartraveller is advising Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Bangladesh and Rakhine State, and recommends Australians do not travel to the areas in northern Rakhine State. If you have any concerns for the welfare of family and friends in the region, you should attempt to directly contact them.

If you are unable to contact them and still hold concerns for their welfare, you should call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's 24 hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1 300 555 135, or +61 2 6261 3305 (if calling from overseas).

More information

Follow @AusHumanitarian on Twitter for more information about Australia's humanitarian response or visit the Foreign Minister's website for the latest media releases.

Last Updated: 6 February 2018
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