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Rohingya Refugee Crisis

   Oct 13, 2017

CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient and accountable charities involved in efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya refugees.

Updated on July 9, 2018

ATTENTION: The charities listed in this alert were Top-Rated by CharityWatch at the time of its publication. CharityWatch updates our ratings throughout the year. To see if a particular charity is currently Top-Rated, please click on its name, below.

As of May 2018, more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees have fled from Myanmar’s Rakhine State to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh for safety, and the violence inflicted by the military in Myanmar continues to escalate. The mass exodus of refugees in the region since August of 2017 has made this the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world. The humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar is being coordinated by the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) which is led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The coordinated effort introduced a Joint Response Plan (JRP) in March 2018 to deal with the ongoing and increasing needs of the Rohingya refugee population. The JRP requested $951 million to provide life-saving aid to 1.3 million people, which includes Rohingya refugees plus members of the host communities. As of late May 2018, however, only 18% of the appeal had been funded. The underfunding of the program could greatly hamper humanitarian efforts to prepare and plan for the 2018 cyclone and monsoon season, which poses flooding and landslide risks to an estimated 200,000+ Rohingya refugees. The monsoon season, which usually runs from June through October, also threatens to wash away over 165,000 structures built on sand and clay in Bangladesh, many of which are constructed with bamboo and tarps. With these threats, the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis is in danger of becoming a massive humanitarian disaster.


Originally posted on October 13, 2017

In the past few months, more than half a million Rohingya refugees have fled over the border of Myanmar into Bangladesh. This exodus is due to the extreme violence inflicted by the military in Myanmar. The U.N. is calling this crisis a "clear case of ethnic cleansing" as the military has launched brutal attacks on Rohingya villages in the country's Rakhine State. As a mostly Muslim minority in the Buddhist-majority Rakhine, the Rohingya are not welcome in the country they called home, Myanmar, and are unwanted by neighboring countries.

The Bangladesh government has responded to the Rohingya refugee crisis by working with both national and international development agencies, but this effort is not going to be enough going forward. The refugee camps cannot adequately support the number of people they are housing. Aid agencies say they are in desperate need of food, shelter and medical assistance. Over ten thousand children are suffering from malnutrition. The conditions in the camps are unsanitary. The Rohingya refugee crisis could become a massive humanitarian disaster.

The Related Charities listed below perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:
1)  A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
2)  A charity should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.

Contact your favorite charities to find out if they provide the specific types of aid that you would like to fund, e.g., emergency shelters, food and water, health care, psychological trauma counseling, etc.


As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help with humanitarian relief efforts should only give to legitimate charities with an established track record of helping people in need.

  • Be on guard for a surge of solicitations related to any highly publicized crisis. There will be fraudulent charity solicitations, some involving websites and email links attempting to steal your credit card information for identity theft or insert malware on your computer.
  • Do not respond to, or click on any attachments, links or pictures included in, emails or text messages received from unknown senders.
  • Social media will include many fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals purporting to need aid that post on Facebook, GoFundMe, etc. These may be fraudsters, and even if they are legitimate victims, they may receive an unfairly large amount of aid.
  • Scammers may try to use copy-cat names similar to those of well-known charities. Avoid name confusion by independently verifying that the charity is legitimate before you donate. Reputable charities will not pressure you to give immediately.
  • Beware of individuals or others claiming to be third party intermediaries for charities or those in need. It is best to give directly only to the charities that you are confident are legitimate and recognized for providing humanitarian relief.


The best way to help is by sending a check or donating securely by credit card. Such cash donations enable charities to buy the most needed types of food, medicine, clothing, shelter materials, and other supplies. By buying relief products locally or regionally, charities can reduce shipping costs and more rapidly deliver assistance. Before sending any goods, first contact the charity to find out if they are appropriate and if it will be cost effective to distribute them. For example, after a tsunami in the Pacific, boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely useless items in tsunami-stricken nations with tropical climates, were sent.

CharityWatch identifies the following Top-Rated charities, which are providing humanitarian aid to the Rohingya refugees and receive an “A” or “B+” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Top-Rated charities also must meet CharityWatch's Governance and Transparency benchmarks. Contact the organizations below for information on the specific humanitarian assistance operations now underway.

Related Charities