Humanitarian programme for forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh - Situation Report - 15 January 2018

from BRAC
Published on 15 Jan 2018 View Original

What you need to know:

  • 655,500 people have arrived since 25 August

  • 9,000 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 14 January 2018, the ISCG reports 655,500 forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals have arrived in Bangladesh driven by violence across the border. The speed and scale with which the influx began on 25 August, resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency. BRAC, as well as a number of other humanitarian actors, have been partnering with the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and UN Agencies to ensure that critical needs of the displaced population are being met and their dignity is protected.

The people who fled here came with very little possessions. In most cases, whatever money they brought with them were spent in transportation and to agents who facilitated their travel to the settlements, or in constructing makeshift shelters.

The FDMN community continues to receive critical assistance for food, shelter, health and other urgent humanitarian needs. As the needs are shifting since the early emergency onset, BRAC and other humanitarian actors are coordinating and responding to the more medium-term needs on the ground.

New arrivals are seen each week, and BRAC is responding by upgrading the quality and comprehensiveness of the services provided. For instance, BRAC has partnered with UNHCR to provide better-quality tarpaulin and shelter-building materials. Additionally, for winter, BRAC has been providing winter clothing and blankets as needed. These communities live in extremely close quarters, hence cooking is risky while fuel is expensive. Therefore, BRAC has been arranging communal kitchens and providing compressed rice husk for alternative means of fuel. Activities such as these indicate the humanitarian sector’s shift in attention to longer term livability in the settlements. All actors are now increasingly including the host communities, who are poor and also affected by the influx, in their relief programming.

Aside from these, the critical health needs have also slightly shifted. Currently, there is a lot of emphasis on the identification, management and prevention of diptheria outbreak. Therefore, BRAC and other health sector responders are working with the GoB to run risk communication activities to increase awareness and effectiveness of the vaccination campaigns. One of the setbacks of the diptheria vaccination campaigns is participation across the Rohingya people. Many of the people in the community believe vaccinations are “impure” according to their religious beliefs and desire not to participate. BRAC and other actors are planning to hold a dialogue with imams (religious leaders) and majhis (zone leaders from the FDMN community) to address issues as these.

The crowded, unsafe, and unsanitary conditions in the settlements also 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.

Adolescent girls and women are at risk of trafficking, domestic violence, assault, or 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. BRAC is launching an expanded nutrition, and education, programmes with UNICEF.

Humanitarian actors on the ground are increasingly emphasising on greater coordination, transparency and standardised reporting. With integrated approaches and scaled-up services, increased coordination mechanisms are high priorities for all implementers to the restoration of dignity and hope of life for the displaced people.

Response to date

  • Over 1,245,431 people received health care support through various medical support agencies.

  • 323,940 children under the age of 15 have been vaccinated against measles and rubella during a fourteen-days long campaign • To ensure safe and clean births, over 3,663 emergency reproductive health kits have been distributed.

  • 100,646 cases of acute respiratory infections(ARI) and 95,950 cases of diarrhoea have been treated by BRAC's 10 primary health centers and 50 satellite clinics.


  • There is a need for scaling up the health care facilities with focus on elderly people.

  • Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) service providers need to be strengthened. Training in line with the guidelines on the particular needs of children, adolescents and elderly groups is crucial.

  • Doctors and paramedics of the organisation working in the health sector of the makeshift settlements need to be trained on facing emergency disease breakouts, like that of diphtheria.

  • Improved coordination is needed between health providers through data sharing and uniform reporting system so as to track diseases and others health trends.