More than two years ago (25 August 2017), the world witnessed one of the largest forced displacements of recent times. Currently, about 911,566 Rohingya refugees are living in spontaneous settlements in Cox’s Bazar. They remain largely dependent on essential humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. Over this period the Government of Bangladesh, UN agencies and I/LNGOs have supported the crisis affected Rohingya community, but the response is critically underfunded. In the beginning, the local community assisted the Rohingya community with essentials, but as the number of Rohingya in Bangladesh territory exceeded the capacity of the host communities, the challenges of inflated commodity prices, increased competition among locals and refugees for income generation opportunities and depleting forest/natural resources have emerged. As the markets do not have the capacity to supply products meeting the additional demands of the 900,000 Rohingya, brokers and vendors from outside have entered the markets resulting in increased cost of daily essentials. The conflict situation has been further aggravated through the cheap labour provided by some members of the Rohingya community decreasing the daily wage rate of the local population significantly. In addition to this, problems related to environmental degradation, including the destruction of local forests to make space for the Rohingya settlements, has been a source of tension for the host community.
Shelter/Non Food Items (NFI): As of October 2019, there is a 75% funding gap in this sector according to the 2019 Joint Response Plan. Moreover, an assessment conducted by site management agencies during the monsoon season found that in camp 14 alone nearly 5,938 HHs (with 29,690 individuals) out of 9,882 HHs (60%) had been affected by heavy rain and insect infestation and were either partially or fully damaged. This assessment is indicative of the situation across the 26 camps.
Health: A recent end-line evaluation conducted by Christian Aid in their camps of operation revealed that the majority of the community accesses health services through community clinics (44%), and static health clinics (31%). As the Rohingya community remain largely dependant on these primary health care facilities, their continuation is critical. According to the WHO External Review of Health Service Delivery for Rohingya refugees’ access to essential comprehensive reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health services remain a major concern. The Health sector currently is facing an 87% funding gap, and these life saving services are under pressure.
Christian Aid would use funds raised by this appeal to provide primary health care services to 7,500 individuals in camp 15.
WASH: The WASH sector has raised just 31% of the required funding to meet the needs set out in the 2019 JRP. Much of the infrastructure constructed in the past two years requires maintenance or reconstruction. In addition to this, 53% of households have access challenges including distance to facilities, overcrowding, and overflowing. 49% of girls and 40% of women reported feeling unsafe using latrines. The total number of functional latrines within a 100m radius of faecal sludge management sites is 9,055; this is low compared to the standards set out in SPHERE.
Livelihoods: The Bangladeshi population living in Ukhiya and Teknaf have fragile livelihoods. For the host communities, access to an income- including casual labour- is relatively common.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of families earn a very low weekly or monthly income due to erratic casual labour opportunities. Most households have members who work only a couple of days per month. Only a small fraction of Bangladeshi – and even less so for the Rohingya - rely on stable wages. (REVA May 20191 ).
Social Cohesion: Nearly half (47%) of Bangladeshi communities hosting 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar District of Bangladesh report being ‘unhappy’ or ‘very unhappy’ with the presence of Rohingya in their area. Common reasons are competition for services and utilities, competition for resources, threat of crime, competition for jobs, unfair distribution of support, and cultural differences. Only 20% of host community members feel they are welcoming to refugees, stating they have become less tolerant over the past year because “they have been here too long.” To reduce long-term dependency of Rohingya refugees on aid, enhance resilience and peaceful coexistence with host communities integrated livelihood and market systems development models that benefit both communities towards social cohesion, while ensuring basic essential services is required.
Based on the needs analysis, funding for transitional shelters, maintenance of WASH facilities, primary health care services and diversified income opportunities for the host communities are needed for sustained services and stronger community cohesion.