Press Release
CAFOD joins forces with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to respond to the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis in Bangladesh

4 October 2017

More than half a million people have fled to Bangladesh in little over a month, escaping violence in Rakhine State in neighbouring Myanmar.

CAFOD, the Catholic Church’s overseas aid agency in England and Wales, is responding to the crisis. With its experienced local partner, Caritas Bangladesh, it is providing newly arrived refugees with food, water and shelter, meeting their basic needs for survival.

Chris Bain, CAFOD’s Director, said: “The suffering we have witnessed in the faces of men, women and children who have fled to Bangladesh must end. We now need your help, so that we can dramatically scale up our response and urgently reach more people. 

Needs are so great that Britain’s Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), of which CAFOD is a member, has launched an emergency appeal for the refugees.

“Every donation will have an impact on the frontline of this crisis, literally making the difference between life and death over the coming weeks,” said Chris Bain.

More than the total number of refugees who arrived in Europe in 2016 are now crammed into the southern town of Cox’s Bazar, an area the size of Crosby in Liverpool. Up to eighty per cent of the refugees arriving in Bangladesh are women and children.

Many of the refugees, from Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, are in a desperate state: sleeping in the open on muddy hillsides during the monsoon season, without food or water. Others are in makeshift refugee camps along the side of the road, or wherever they can find space. Food, clean water and sanitation, and medical and health services are urgently needed.

“Bangladesh is doing what she can,” said Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka, who has just visited the refugees. “Out of her poverty, she is sharing her riches, our human values, the treasure of our culture.”

In co-ordination with the Bangladeshi Government and other Caritas aid agencies, Caritas Bangladesh hopes to reach more than 60,000 vulnerable people with food, and kitchen utensils – such as pots and pans. They need to scale up this response to provide clean water and sanitation, as well as shelter, in the coming weeks and months ahead.  

“On behalf of CAFOD and Caritas Bangladesh, I would like to thank our supporters for making this life-saving work possible,” said Chris Bain.

For interviews or further information 

  • Please contact: Nana Anto-Awuakye, email:, Tel: +44 (0)207 095 5456, +44 (0)7799 477 541. Or Laura Ouseley on: email:, Tel: +44 (0)207 095 5479, +44 (0)7909 875 956
  • CAFOD Out of Hours Media Phone: CAFOD +44 (0)7919 301 429

Notes to Editor

  • CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and is part of the Caritas network of more than 160 Catholic aid agencies worldwide, which work together to respond to humanitarian emergencies.
  • The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.
  • To make a donation to the Rohingya Crisis Appeal visit:
  • Photos are available on request.

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