Since August 2017, more than 730,000 Rohingya, including 400,000 children, have fled violence in Myanmar and settled in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh.
Since then, with the support of the Government and humanitarian partners, refugees have gained access to basic services. The refugees remain highly dependent on short-term aid, however, and are living in precarious conditions, particularly in congested camps. The congested conditions and poor knowledge of hygiene practices continue to put camp inhabitants at high risk of disease. Over 6,000 children identified as unaccompanied and separated are at risk of trafficking, early marriage and sexual exploitation.
Twenty-three per cent of girls and 57 per cent of women feel unsafe when using latrines.
Despite the significant progress made towards increasing access to emergency education, 39 per cent of children and 97 per cent of adolescents still lack access to learning opportunities. Adolescents and youth face specific risks4 that are exacerbated by the lack of education, occupational training and safe livelihood opportunities. Parts of Bangladesh, including Cox’s Bazar, are regularly threatened by cyclones and monsoon flooding.
Nationally, 60 per cent of the country is vulnerable to floods. Cyclones and storm surges are common in coastal areas, with devastating effects on local populations.
UNICEF’s humanitarian response in Bangladesh is aligned with the 2019 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya crisis. In cooperation with the Government and partners, UNICEF will continue to link its humanitarian response and development programmes to achieve sustainable results. In 2019,
UNICEF will deliver life-saving, multisectoral services wherever possible, while strengthening national service delivery and promoting social cohesion in host communities. This includes providing water and sanitation; providing health services for children and pregnant women; facilitating treatment for children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM); supporting access to quality education; reaching children affected by violence, abuse and neglect with prevention and assistance; and preventing gender and sexual violence and supporting survivors. The specific needs of adolescents will be prioritized, particularly their access to education, health care, occupational and lifeskills training and participation opportunities. UNICEF will continue to invest in preparedness, accountability to affected populations and gender-based violence mitigation. Where agreed with the Government, cash assistance will be linked to social protection measures.
Lessons learned in Cox’s Bazar will be used to strengthen government service delivery across Bangladesh. UNICEF will continue to lead the nutrition sector and the child protection subsector, and colead the education and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sectors.
Results from 2018
As of 29 October 2018, UNICEF had received US$116.7 million against the US$149.8 million appeal (78 per cent funded).
UNICEF achieved remarkable results for children and affected populations, especially in camp settings, and strengthened its work in host communities. The emphasis on WASH activities, particularly the establishment of diarrhoeal treatment centres and the delivery of strong behaviour change communication messaging, contributed to averting a potentially major cholera epidemic.
The establishment of more than 1,300 learning centres provided education opportunities for more than 70 per cent of targeted school-aged children.
Nutrition Action Week allowed for the screening of over 149,000 children, with more than 1,000 children referred for SAM treatment. UNICEF also scaled up efforts across all programme areas to provide children and adolescents with opportunities for a better future.
With UNICEF support, the education sector developed a learning framework for pre-primary through Grade 8 that will provide standardized teaching and learning for refugee children. A learning framework for adolescents is under development. In host communities,
UNICEF is implementing a tailored strategy in close cooperation with and through government systems.
Although results in host communities were initially low, enhanced efforts will be made throughout 2019 to achieve planning goals.