Population Movement: Six Months On
Six months have passed since August 2017 when the last round of violence in the Rakhine State of Myanmar began. Recent reports indicated that approximately 866,000 people (note 1) from Rakhine State are now displaced in Cox’s Bazar of Bangladesh. Many of these displaced persons are vulnerable groups of people, including single mothers, unaccompanied children and people with disabilities. Most of the displaced arrived in Bangladesh with almost nothing, whom at the moment almost entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs.
The rapidly increased population resulted in an overcrowded living environment with not enough safe water and basic sanitation facilities, safe shelters and services such as medical services. The population influx has also caused huge pressure on the host communities that are lack of resources even before the crisis. With the cyclones and monsoon seasons coming, there is an urgent need to support building up the preparedness and resilience for both the displaced and host communities as soon as possible.
Looking at the future of the situation, besides committing ourselves to support the host communities in Bangladesh and the displaced from Myanmar with humanitarian actions (see below for details), the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement recognized the number of steps made by the Bangladesh and Myanmar government towards the repatriation of the displaced persons, in the same time emphasizing that sustainable return must take place under conditions such as safety, dignity and voluntariness of the returnees. The needs and perspectives of the communities involved should be at the center of the return process.
(Note 1: According to the latest report of International Organization for Migration on 21 December 2017, the total number of migrants taking refuge in Cox’s Bazar of Bangladesh from Myanmar is revised to 866,000. This figure was reported as 1 million in previous work report.)
2017 floods and monsoon
Back in 2017, during May to December, more than 10 million people in Bangladesh were affected by monsoon, floods and cyclone. While floods water had receded already, some affected families remain displaced or stay in crude temporary shelters which are vulnerable to the upcoming cyclone and monsoon season. In the same time, communities are struggling to find immediate livelihoods and safe shelters, amidst the winter cold spell that is haunting the area.
Hong Kong Red Cross Actions
The Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) has mobilized HKD 6 million to support the emergency operations of the International Red Cross in Bangladesh and Myanmar, the amount includes a grant of $2.674 million from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Disaster Relief Fund. 2,000 flood-affected families in northern Bangladesh have received emergency shelter materials in December 2017 and January 2018. HKRC is also supporting 60,000 pieces of sleeping mat for 30,000 displaced families from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Since August 2017, a total of ten HKRC volunteers have been mobilized to provide healthcare and water and sanitation support services at the Red Cross and Red Crescent mobile clinics or emergency hospitals in the Cox’s Bazar makeshift settlements. Besides, HKRC has deployed three staff members to Bangladesh to support the flooding and population movement operation with the International Red Cross.
HKRC has launched an emergency appeal on 22 September 2017. Thanks to the generosity of the Hong Kong Public, as of 21 February 2018, we have received approximately HK$ 777,000.
HKRC continues to provide emergency tracing service for people in Hong Kong who are looking for missing family members in Bangladesh and Myanmar related to the current emergencies, details can be found on our “Emergency Tracing Service” webpage.
Red Cross and Red Crescent Actions
For the population movement operation in Bangladesh, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) and International Red Cross have provided humanitarian assistance to over 200,000 people and completed the activities below since August 2017:
Distribution of food packs to over 527,000 person-times;
Distribution of blankets, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, jerry cans, sleeping mats, cooking utensils, tarpaulins and shelter tool kits to over 1.2 million person-times;
Provision of emergency cash grant to more than 7,100 families;
Provision of medical services to over 98,835 people through field hospital, mobile medical teams and local healthcare centers;
Setting-up of 607 latrines, 11 water pumps and 193 showers;
Over 58,000 people involved in psychosocial support activities; and - 9,000 displaced people were able to contact their family members.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are amongst the very few humanitarian organizations working on both Bangladesh and Myanmar and in response to multiple humanitarian needs. The International Red Cross has launched emergency appeals globally, seeking for almost HKD 1 billion to support the emergency operations in Bangladesh and Myanmar. Apart from the population movement operation in Bangladesh, the Red Cross and Red Crescent have reached over 100,000 people affected by cyclone and flooding in Bangladesh and supported over 313,000 person-times affected by violence in Rakhine State of Myanmar.
Please call 2802-0016, fax to 2802-0017 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.