During the second half of 2017, renewed violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, drove an estimated 687,000 Rohingya, including 371,000 children, across the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
5These refugees are highly vulnerable, living in overcrowded camps and many have experienced severe psychosocial trauma. Existing basic services, especially water and sanitation services are overwhelmed leading to unsanitary conditions and increased risk of disease outbreaks.
6 The nutrition situation is of grave concern, high percentage of children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
7 An estimated 500,000 children need education, protection and psychosocial support.
8 Both refugees and host communities are also susceptible to environmental hazards associated with annual cyclone and monsoon season from April to November, which also affects other parts of the country. Nationally, approximately 60 per cent of Bangladesh is susceptible to floods. Cyclones and storm surges are common events in coastal areas with devastating effects on people’s lives and properties.
UNICEF’s humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar is aligned with the 2018 Joint Response Plan and based on four key strategies while working closely with government and partners linking humanitarian and development programmes for sustained results. First approach is lifesaving service delivery in refugee camps including safe water, sanitation, hygiene promotion, vaccination and health services for children and pregnant women, treatment of severely malnourished children, protection services for most at-risk population including prevention of sexual violence and abuse, case management, psychosocial support and provision of non-formal education. C4D interventions support all activities with an emphasis on community engagement and accountability to affected populations. Targeted cash assistance will be linked to service delivery on need basis. Second approach focuses on host communities in Ukhiya and Teknaf, addressing needs and promoting social cohesion, including enhancing existing government’s service delivery to ensure similar service delivery in refugee camps and host communities. Third approach focuses on system strengthening and accelerating programme implementation across the entire Cox’s Bazar district. The fourth approach is to strengthen government service delivery across the country through preparedness and response capacities based on lesson learned.
Results from 2018
As of April 2018, UNICEF has US$67.8 million available against the US$149.7 million13 appeal (45 per cent funded). In 2018, UNICEF significantly scaled up its response, supporting both refugees and host communities. With health activities funded at 64 per cent, as of April 2018, UNICEF vaccinated 431,448 children against diphtheria. Almost 400,000 people gained access to culturally appropriate latrines and washing facilities; nearly 90,000 children aged 4-14 years have been enrolled in emergency non-formal education; and some 142,000 children benefitted from UNICEF supported psychosocial activities. Initial focus of the emergency response was to provide access to services to as many children and their families in the refugee camps. Dialogue has been initiated to support the affected host communities through the government strengthening existing UNICEF development programme. Adolescent programming and specialized care for the most vulnerable cases will be enhanced in the coming months.