ISCG Situation Report: Rohingya Refugee Crisis, Cox’s Bazar | 1 November 2018 (covering 9-29 October)
Cyclone preparedness continues to be top priority. Shelter upgrades continue, with 178,624 households supported with tie-down kits (85% of target) that allow shelters to resist winds up to 40 km/hr. 857 mid-term shelters and 2,962 shelters have been constructed (5% of target) which can resist wind speeds of 50 and 80+ km/hr, respectively. As of 24 October 2018, 44,812 refugees have been relocated within camps or into new sites, including for landslide/flood risk mitigation, infrastructure work as well as new arrivals; 26,884 of these were due to heightened landslide risks.
A total of 24,874 persons have been verified through the Government of Bangladesh and UNHCR joint verification exercise, as of 31 of October. The verification site moved to the main Teknaf highway on 30 September. This easily accessible site will be utilized for the verification of refugees living in Camps 24, 25, 26 and 27.
Sizable funding gaps translate into significant consequences for multiple Sectors. For example, the Shelter/NFI Sector is 75% underfunded—its funding gap for contingency planning alone is estimated at USD 40 million.
Health Sector completed an assessment on the availability of essential medicines, identifying gaps and recommending ways forward.
Space constraints limit Sectors’ capacities in myriad ways. For example, SM reports inadequate space for installation of essential services and a range of grave concerns related to the congested living conditions in the camps.
Insufficient community spaces for recreational play and child protection services heighten risks to refugee children. Inadequate education service coverage for adolescents between 15 to 24 years of age remains a big concern, coupled with the lack of dedicated funds for anti-trafficking and mental health services. The prolonged registration process for NGOs also hinders provision of GBV and child protection services.
Beginning 25 August 2017, extreme violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, drove over 700,000 Rohingya refugees across the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in the span of a few months (source: NPM and RRRC Family Counting). A situation of statelessness imposed over generations rendered this population acutely vulnerable, even before the severe traumas of this most recent crisis. The people and Government of Bangladesh welcomed the Rohingya refugees with resounding generosity and open borders. The speed and scale of the influx was nonetheless a challenge, and the humanitarian community stepped up its support to help mitigate a critical humanitarian emergency. The response is also designed to support the Bangladeshi communities most directly affected by the influx and improve their ability to cope with the strains of hosting a refugee population that now comprises nearly a million children, women and men who are forced to rely upon humanitarian aid for their basic needs.
Over a year later, Rohingya refugees continue to arrive in Bangladesh, though in much fewer numbers than the initial influx in late 2017. Nearly 14,000 new arrivals were reported from 1 January to 1 October 2018, including almost 200 in the second half of September (source: UNHCR). In Bangladesh, refugees continue to face compounding vulnerabilities. They live in congested sites that are ill-equipped to handle cyclone hazards – with alarmingly limited options for relocation or evacuation. Many refugees have expressed anxiety about their future, explaining that while they wish to return, they would not agree to do so until questions of citizenship, legal rights, and access to services, justice and restitution are addressed.