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Published on March 16th, 2018 | by Georgia Archonti


Six Months on, IOM Praises Joint Efforts, but Warns of New Challenges for Rohingya Response

It will be six months, this Sunday (25/02), since almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar started arriving in Bangladesh.

In one of the world’s biggest forced migrations in recent years, around half a million people crossed the border in just two months after 25 August. Early images of tens of thousands of frightened and exhausted families filing through muddy paddy fields or crammed into rickety boats during their flight shocked the world.

The stories the survivors told of what had been done to them in Myanmar, and to the men, women and children who never made it out alive, were even more shocking.

Local and international aid organizations, including IOM – which had been assisting smaller numbers of Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar since 2014 – rallied to support the Bangladesh authorities and host community whose generosity in helping the desperate refugees was widely and deservedly acclaimed.

Most of those early arrivals spent the first days sleeping in the open – unprotected from the rain with no access to food or clean water.

Six months on, the situation is very different. Cox Bazar now hosts what is in effect the world’s largest refugee camp and while conditions remain immensely challenging, people no longer sleep directly exposed to the elements or face imminent starvation.

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