In the early hours of 25 August, violence broke out in Rakhine State. The extent and implications remain uncertain. As of 7 September, 270,000 people are estimated to have crossed the border into Cox’s Bazar. This has almost tripled the number of Undocumented Myanmar Nationals in Cox’s Bazar over twelve days: there are now a total estimated 434,000 Undocumented Myanmar Nationals, and 34,000 registered refugees in Cox’s Bazar. The influx is expected to continue.
130,000 of the new arrivals are adding massive pressure in the existing makeshift settlements and refugee camps at Kutupalong and Balukhali. 50,000 arrivals are creating at least four spontaneous settlements, which are rapidly expanding: Unchiprang in Teknaf, and three locations in Ukhia including Moiner Ghona and Thangkhali, close to the existing Balukhali settlement. In host communities, 90,000 people are settling in large numbers in and around several villages, mainly in Teknaf. In the border areas, many thousands have gathered in large groups (Palonkhali in Cox’s Bazar District, and Gundum and Naikonchari in Bandarban District).
The situation remains highly fluid, with numbers changing by the hour and difficult to ascertain accurately. People continue to pour in through different crossing points, including by marine routes into coastal areas on the Bay of Bengal, over the Naf River into Teknaf, and via land crossing points into Ukhia and Bandarban District.
In line with the Government of Bangladesh’s National Strategy on Undocumented Myanmar Nationals and Refugees, basic assistance should be provided. The Government is considering the establishment of new makeshift settlements, and the District Authority has established a mechanism for receiving and allocating private cash donations. The District health complex continues to provide essential support for people requiring urgent medical attention, receiving referrals from the humanitarian primary health facilities, and extending vaccination campaigns to cover new arrivals. Local communities have been at the frontline of the response, providing food and basic items for new arrivals.
Government efforts have been complemented and supported by the launch of immediate response by humanitarian agencies. The scale and dynamism of the influx has quickly overwhelmed humanitarian capacity on the ground: all sectors are now scaling up, activating pipelines and surge resources, including for sector coordination and information management. Sectors are also seeking to extend support to new national partners to augment response capacity, as numbers are expected to continue to increase, given the severity and scale of the unfolding situation in Rakhine State and the pace of influx seen to date in Cox’s Bazar.