Skip to main content
European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Bangladeshi women with children
© European Union, 2019 (photographer: Peter Biro)


Bangladesh is currently home to almost 1 million Rohingya refugees who have fled targeted violence, large-scale armed attacks, and human rights violations in neighbouring Myanmar.

Most of them stay in the congested refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar, where conditions are extremely dire, with serious security and protection concerns, and no clear prospect for safe and voluntary return to their home country. Due to their precarious circumstances, Rohingya continue to embark on dangerous sea journeys to neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Malaysia in search of a better life.

Bangladesh is also one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, exposed to a variety of natural hazard-induced disasters including cyclones, floods, and earthquakes.

What are the needs?

Over the past 40 years, the Rohingya – an ethnic, religious, and linguistic minority – have fled persecution and discrimination in Myanmar, mostly seeking refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Following violent military crackdowns in the northern parts of Myanmar’s Rakhine State in August 2017, more than 770,000 Rohingya have fled across the border in search of protection and assistance in Cox’s Bazar. This is one of the poorest districts in Bangladesh and prone to natural hazards.

View of a 'street' within the camp.
Cox’s Bazar in southeastern Bangladesh hosts the world’s largest refugee settlement.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Lisa Hastert)

Efforts have been made to ensure better living conditions for the Rohingya refugees, but their situation remains precarious. It has continued deteriorating this year due to the protracted nature of the crisis, lack of more sustainable and durable solutions, and decreasing humanitarian funding.

Being the world’s largest stateless population, most Rohingya do not have formal refugee status, and have limited access to cash and livelihoods. They remain vulnerable to exploitation and serious protection risks. Living in refugee camps with no self-reliance opportunities, they depend entirely on humanitarian aid.

Faced with funding shortfalls, the World Food Programme (WFP) had to cut the value of food vouchers for camp residents twice in 2023, first from $12 per person per month to $10 in March, and in June to just $8. 

The food security and nutrition situation in the camps worsened rapidly, and, in November 2023, the WFP reported that 90% of the refugee population in Cox's Bazar didn't have access to adequate food. Thanks to additional funding, to which the EU has contributed, the food ration has been brought back to $10 since the beginning of 2024.

However, the situation in the camps remains precarious and more funding is urgently needed to prevent further ration cuts in 2024.

Due to its geographical location, Bangladesh is also prone to seasonal flooding, landslides, and cyclones. This makes Bangladesh one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change.

Over the past decades, Bangladesh has developed emergency preparedness and response mechanisms, which continue to save lives before and during major disasters. However, global warming and environmental degradation are likely to worsen the frequency and intensity of these natural hazard-induced disasters – all contributing to increasing humanitarian needs.

Map Bangladesh

How are we helping?

In 2024, the EU is providing €19.5 million in humanitarian aid to support the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, as well as their host communities through:

  • food assistance;
  • nutrition assistance;
  • access to water, sanitation, and healthcare services;
  • education;
  • shelter;
  • camp management;
  • site management and site development;
  • disaster preparedness;
  • increased protection for the most vulnerable groups.

Approximately 30,000 Rohingya refugees are also hosted on the Bangladeshi island of Bhasan Char, with limited access to essential services. The EU has been supporting refugees in Bhasan Char with food assistance and protection interventions since 2022.

2 girls sitting down. 1 girl with a red headscarf is modeling the other's girl hair.
Moriom fled violence in Myanmar with her children and now lives in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. Her 12-year-old daughter Umme Kulsum doesn’t go to school because of the deteriorating security situation in the camps.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Lisa Hastert)

An additional €300,000 has already been mobilised in 2024 to support the emergency response following the devastating fire in Camp 5 at the beginning of January 2024.

EU humanitarian funding is also supporting efforts to reduce the impact of floods, cyclones and landslides in highly affected parts of Bangladesh, by promoting and enhancing anticipatory action. In 2024-2025, a total of €7 million will support disaster preparedness, and disaster risk reduction and resilience in Bangladesh.

There will be a particular focus on early warning systems and effective anticipatory action models, shock responsive social protection, and involvement of the private sector.

Last updated: 02/02/2024

Facts & figures

Almost 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar

EU humanitarian aid:
€19.5 million
in 2024
Disaster preparedness: €7 million in 2024-2025

Over €38.5 million in 2023
€46.8 million in 2022