The Ongoing Rohingya Refugee Crisis


Since August 25, 2017, over half a million ethnic Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State into neighboring Bangladesh to escape appalling violence and violations of human rights. Others remain internally displaced within Myanmar without access to humanitarian aid. The speed and scale of the refugee influx to Bangladesh has made this the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world and the concentration of refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh is now among the densest in the world. With the total Rohingya population in Bangladesh now close to 1 million, Bangladesh and the international community are struggling to meet the displaced populations’ escalating needs. The displaced Rohingya population is highly vulnerable, having fled conflict and experienced severe trauma, and now living in extremely difficult conditions with limited access to food, water and sanitation, shelter, healthcare, and other basic services in the spontaneous sites where they have settled. In addition to the extreme vulnerability of the displaced, the sheer number of Rohingya refugees seeking shelter in Bangladesh has put a remarkable strain on the already limited resources of host communities.
The UNOCHA Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017-2018 identified the areas of WASH, health, nutrition and food security and shelter for immediate scale-up to save lives in both settlements and host communities. Given the current population density and poor sanitation and hygiene conditions, any outbreak of cholera or acute watery diarrhea (AWD), which are endemic in Bangladesh, could kill thousands of people residing in temporary settlements. Urgent nutrition needs have been prioritized for children aged under five (including infants), pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girls. These include close to 17,000 children under five suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) to be supported over the next six months. Moreover, children, adolescents and women in both the Rohingya and host communities are exposed to high levels of violence, abuse and exploitation including sexual harassment, child labor and child marriage and are at high risk of being trafficked. With roughly 60% of new arrivals being children, an estimated 453,000 Rohingya children aged 4-18 years old are in need of education services.
The five proposed challenges of this hackathon are all cross-cutting in nature and have significant applicability to the Rohingya humanitarian emergency that is taking place in both Myanmar and Bangladesh. As you work in your teams on developing your project pitches we ask that you view your challenge through the lens of the evolving Rohingya crisis and tailor your pitches in a relevant way. To learn more, visit the “Resources” section on our website and look out for more information being released leading up to the hackathon!