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Myanmar (Burma)

About the Situation

By the Numbers

Some 139,000 people in Myanmar (also known as Burma) have been internally displaced by inter-communal violence since June 2012.

(Sources: UNHCR and government resources)

More than two years after a state of emergency was declared in Rakhine, Myanmar (also known as Burma), around 139,000 people remain internally displaced by clashes that began in June 2012, unable to return to their homes, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

According to government reports, the majority of those who were affected were Muslims. The UN reported that some 800,000 Muslims of Rohingya ethnicity live in Myanmar in the northern Rakhine State. They are regarded as some of the most persecuted people in the world, and face regular food shortages. As clashes continue in their home area, their desperate situation has turned even more horrid.

Some who fled the violence crossed over into neighboring Bangladesh. But many were turned away and existing refugee camps have been capped.

The UNHCR estimated that, with assessments after a separate set of clashes in October 2012, that some 140,000 people were affected by destruction and death.

While violence has quelled slightly since the outbreaks of 2012, continued tensions keep many in danger and in need of help.

How Islamic Relief Is Helping

Islamic Relief USA, in collaboration with the UNHCR, is working to provide relief and humanitarian assistance to internal refugees in the Rakhine State of Myanmar.

There was an urgent need for shelter for internally displaced families and their host communities. Many now homeless people lived in community centers, churches and temporary camp sites. Here are some photos provided by the UNHCR of efforts that IRUSA donors have helped support.

On going
Essential health services are being delivered to the extremely vulnerable populations, including internally displaced persons and hard-to-reach villages, in Rakhine State. Mobile health units, distribution of medicines, immunization and nutrition campaigns, health education, and volunteer training are all part of the effort. More than 46,000 people stand to benefit.

More than 8,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh benefitted from a program designed to provide prevention and treatment services for disease. The effort, which also included basic health care coverage and a project to treat children suffering from malnutrition, focused on the Kutupalong and Nayapara camps in Bangladesh’s Southeastern district of Cox Bazar.

This effort helped incorporate self-reliance with the Rohingya refugee community in Bangladesh camps of Nayapara and Kutupalong via the initiation of vegetable gardens for 5,000 families. Items like seeds and fertilizers as well as expert agricultural assistance were provided. The project addressed both the issues of malnutrition and stunting among children under 5 which has reached more than 60%; and the necessity of providing opportunities for economic livelihood for the camp community.

Islamic Relief donors helped provide about 1,000 emergency tents for internally displaced persons (IDPs) of both Rohingya and non-Rohingya populations. Some 2,000 Core Relief Item (CRI) kits were also been delivered. They included:

  • Mosquito nets
  • Plastic tarpaulins
  • Kitchen sets
  • Blankets and sleeping mats
  • Jerry cans and plastic buckets
  • Clothes, such as socks, t-shirts for adults and warm apparel for children
  • Products for women
  • Solar lamps
  • Detergent and soap

Islamic Relief worked with UNHCR to provide some 335 emergency shelters for more than 1,600 individuals in Sittwe, Rakhine State. These temporary family unit shelter spaces are housing internally displaced persons (IDPs) until permanent housing solutions are found. Efforts were made to prevent overcrowding and potential problems associated with that; to provide water, sanitation and health care services; and to involve community members in camp management.

To see a detailed report of Islamic Relief USA’s efforts for Myanmar, download this donor report. Islamic Relief USA also disseminated information to help educate the public about who the Rohingya people are and the situation in Myanmar. Check out “Myanmar: A Crisis Forgotten” and this infographic to learn more.

How You Can Help


by organizing and attending local fundraisers that support IRUSA’s efforts.


by sharing information about IRUSA’s efforts with your social media networks.


to support Myanmar (Burma) Humanitarian Aid efforts.