WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
624,000 people have arrived since 25 August
3,000 crossed the border in the past week
1.2 million require immediate humanitarian assistance, including earlier arriving Myanmar nationals and vulnerable members of host communities
As of 21 November, an estimated 624,000 forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals fled Myanmar to Bangladesh, according to the ISCG report published 26 November 2017. The influx began on 25 August, after the Myanmar Army launched security operations in northern Rakhine state. In September, an average of 14,500 people approximately arrived daily. This dropped to an approximate average of 3,100 arrivals per day in October. In total, the estimated number of people in need was 1.2 million in the latest Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) of October 2017, comprising of existing caseload of displaced Myanmar nationals in Bangladesh, new arrivals and host community.
Since the number of people that have arrived stands at around 624,000, the current number of people in need is likely to be higher than the previous estimate. A high population density in the settlements means limited land is available to build facilities and accommodate FDMNs, threatening health and overwhelming the current existing facilities.
Multiple families are sharing shelters, building them against the hills. Planning and safety matters were not taken into consideration while these shelters were built. Better planning with site management, contingency response, and improving quality of shelters are priorities for the GoB ratifies as well.
The host communities are impacted given the increased population in their hometowns. No large-scale response efforts were in place from the beginning taking host community into consideration, which has left a significant gap. An estimated 471,800 people live in in Ukhia (207,400) and Teknaf (264,400) upazilas (Government Census 2011), meaning that since the influx, the refugee population has nearly doubled than that of the host community.
Access to fuel is a key concern. Not only have the prices soared, the FDMN have been reported of selling food rations to obtain firewood. When collecting firewood in the forests, they are exposed to a wide range of protection concerns. Cooking with firewood inside shelters continues to be a significant fire hazard.
The crowded, unsafe, and unsanitary conditions in the settlements give way to numerous protection concerns, especially for women and children. Women and girls tend to stay inside very hot shelters for cultural, religious and safety concerns. They have also indicated not feeling safe using WaSH facilities as latrines are sometimes undesignated, and lack lighting. To avoid open bathing and defaecation, they wash inside their shelters, restrict food and water intake, and restrict movement during the menstrual period. Moreover, adolescent girls and women are at risk of trafficking, domestic violence, assault, or other abuse. Increasing access to healthcare, gender- appropriated latrines, and psychosocial support are therefore priorities.
For children, being out of school increases the risk child marriage, abuse, sexual exploitation, trafficking, and child labour. There are high malnutrition rates among these children. Humanitarian actors are expanding operations in education, nutrition, gender-based support, and community mobilisation through volunteer network at the camps and makeshift settlements.
The hope is, integrated approaches and scaled-up services with increased coordination mechanisms are high priorities for all implementers. Providing each individual with dignity, respect and essential services remain in the forefront for all.