I - SITUATION OVERVIEW
During the 2020 monsoon season, more than 118,000 Rohingya refugees were affected1 -around 41 per cent more than in 2019 , including more than 8,700 refugees temporarily displaced, more than 5,500 refugees affected by some 630 slope failures, 9 fatalities which were monsoon-related. Nearly 50 per cent fewer refugees were temporarily displaced in 2020, while there were 18 per cent fewer fatalities this year as compared to 2019.
Peak rainfall of 283 mm was recorded by the rain gauges on 18 June, which was less than in 2019 when precipitation twice exceeded the rain gauge alert threshold of 350 mm.
II – LESSONS LEARNED SINCE 2017
Achievements and areas which require continued attention in monsoon preparedness and response over the last three years can be summarized as follows:
1. Refugees in high-risk areas and first responders have developed a stronger understanding of monsoon risks and how to respond to natural hazards.
Refugees living in camps 24, 25, 26 and 27 have developed an increased understanding of monsoon risks and how to take protective action. Moreover, strengthening of the capacity and knowledge of Bangladeshi first responders has played an important role in preparedness efforts in the camps and host communities in the last years.
2. Significant investment in preparedness by a variety of actors has contributed to the strengthening of monsoon preparedness in Cox’s Bazar District, while further work is needed to more closely align different preparedness plans.
Continued commitment from the Government of Bangladesh, donors, as well as humanitarian agencies and organizations, has resulted in the strengthening of the preparedness infrastructure, and allowed for the continuity of basic activities in the Rohingya refugee camps during the monsoon season. However, there is still need to more closely align monsoon plans of the humanitarian community with disaster management plans at the District and Upazila levels, especially for properly enabling camplevel preparedness planning.
3. While inter-agency coordination related to monsoon preparedness and response has improved significantly since 2017, critical gaps regarding information-sharing and capacity building remain.
Over the last years, a number of Sectors have appointed internal sectoral response focal points and/or mobile response teams at camp or area level, who are responsible for responding to monsoon-related issues, to ensure that essential activities can continue to be delivered in the camps. However, further training of refugee first responder volunteers is still required, including to enhance camp-level coordination with humanitarian actors.
Despite considerable improvements made in inter-agency coordination, relevant actors have identified a critical gap in information-sharing protocols among all emergency preparedness actors – both Government and humanitarian – in Cox’s Bazar District. Standard Operating Procedures for information sharing are not explicitly described in the Monsoon Response Plan, and changing practices render it difficult to anticipate where, when, and with whom information is shared. While various mailing lists and WhatsApp group platforms have provided starting points for the dissemination of information, distribution down to the focal points or mobile response teams at the camp level currently depends on the information cascading naturally to Sectors and individual agencies.
4. Strengthening communication with and accountability to affected populations remains a key priority.
Continued attention on the part of humanitarian actors for enhanced community engagement and communication with affected communities is required. This includes a specific focus on early warning and weather-related preparedness messaging to prevent loss of life and awareness of monsoon-related risks. Moreover, in coordination with the Government, there is need to develop Standard Operating Procedures for emergency support to vulnerable Bangladeshi households living within, or in immediate proximity to, the camps, who may be adversely affected by monsoons.