Since 1992, Cox’s Bazar continues to experience an intermittent influx of refugees from Myanmar. The recent escalation in violence between the Rohingya and the authorities in Myanmar caused new influx of Undocumented Myanmar Nationals (UMN), and it is estimated to 622,000 of new arrivals at the moment in existing makeshift settlements and refugee camps at Kutupalong and Balukhali. Mass gatherings of UMN (Palonkhali in Cox’s Bazar District, and Gundum and Naikonchari in Bandarban District) have formed along the border, and three spontaneous settlements are rapidly expanding in Bangladesh: Unchiprang in Teknaf, and Moiner Ghona and Thangkhali in Ukhia District, close to the existing Balukhali settlement.
The Government of Bangladesh’s (GOB) National Strategy on UMNs and Refugees will provide basic assistance, which is further complemented and supported by assistance from the humanitarian community in Bangladesh through immediate lifesaving emergency response across all sectors. The GOB is supporting the international organisations that are already present in Cox’s Bazar, which are playing a pivotal role in managing the refugee camps and makeshift sites; however, the size of operations requires a much more integrated inter-agency response. An integrated response is even more critical because the refugees are unlikely to return to Myanmar in the short-tomedium term and will require assistance in Bangladesh for a prolonged period, creating continuous supply requirements for the humanitarian community. The security situation remains stable, allowing the nongovernmental sector to work without disturbance and targeted populations also benefit from enhanced emergency supply-chain support to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) in order to receive timely humanitarian assistance. In line with GOB’s National Strategy on Undocumented Myanmar Nationals and Refugees, the humanitarian community is scaling up its operation to support the national government’s response.
Logistics Gaps and Bottlenecks
The major logistics constraints on the ability of humanitarian organisations to respond to the emergency are the lack of available storage facilities, general access and insufficient road structure in the camps and to distribution places, as well as the ability to get prepared to respond to potential damage and impediments due to the upcoming rainy seasons. More specifically, the following logistics gaps have been identified:
Limited storage capacity: Low available storage facilities and increased humanitarian activity have placed significant demands on common logistics storage in the area of Cox’s Bazar and the surrounding areas of the makeshift settlements.
Increasing needs for logistics coordination and information management: although a Logistics Working Group has been active in Bangladesh for the past years, additional support in terms of coordination, information management services and GIS capacity is required.