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Refugee Influx Emergency Vulnerability Assessment (REVA-5) Technical Report (June 2022)

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Executive summary

• Overall vulnerability levels have remained alarmingly high since 2019 among Rohingya households. The latest findings showed that 95 percent of all Rohingya households are moderately to highly vulnerable and remain entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance, similar to 2020 (96 percent) and 2019 (94 percent), with a gradual increase from 2017 (80 percent). These results reflect the slow economic recovery of an already fragile population with neither income sources nor livelihood opportunities.

• Overall vulnerability in the host community has shown an upward trend since 2017 and has remained high since 2020, with 52 percent of the population moderately to highly vulnerable in 2021 compared to 51 percent in 2020. The main drivers were economic contraction and decline in economic activity across most sectors causing reduced income opportunities and market volatility during the COVID-19 lockdown in a population highly dependent on daily wage labour.

• The proportion of Rohingya households with inadequate food consumption (poor and borderline) improved in 2021 reaching 45 percent, compared to 50 percent in the previous year – yet remains higher than 2019 preCOVID-19 levels (42 percent). In the host community, the proportion of inadequate food consumption increased in 2021 reaching 38 percent of households surveyed, driven by the increase in the proportion of households with borderline food consumption, showing continued challenges for the host population in meeting their food consumption needs since the onset of the pandemic.

• A simulated scenario, discounting the value of assistance, showed that economic vulnerability would remain high with 94 percent of Rohingya households consuming below the Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB). This reflects the fragility of the camp economy and its full dependence on assistance to cover the essential needs of almost all households.

• Despite the current level of humanitarian assistance, 51 percent of Rohingya households cannot afford the MEB. Compared to 2020, economic vulnerability has slightly increased among Rohingya and host communities (by 2 percent each). This implies a significant dependency on humanitarian assistance. This also indicates that the assistance is only able to offset part of household needs because of the population’s underlying fragility and market volatility.

• The monthly expenditure share on food continued to be high: 71 percent for Rohingya households and 65 percent for host communities. For Rohingya households, this is only slightly below the severe economic vulnerability threshold of 75 percent.

• Two thirds of Rohingya households (68 percent) and half of the households in the host community (52 percent) relied on less preferred or less expensive food for at least one day, representing the coping strategy most frequently used for both populations. More than one third of Rohingya households (36 percent) and one fourth of host community households (25 percent) borrowed food or relied on support from friends or relatives.

• Nearly two thirds of Rohingya households (64 percent) had to employ at least one crisis or emergency strategy, whereas one fourth (26 percent) applied stress coping strategies. In the host community, the proportion of households resorting to stress coping strategies increased from 30 to 43 percent between 2020 and 2021. The increased use of these strategies compared to 2020 reflects the greater number of households facing inadequate resources to independently cover basic needs, likely due to the pandemic’s impact on the local economy and livelihoods, and the 2021 lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19.

• The percentage of indebted households for both populations was very high: 79 percent of Rohingya households and 77 percent of host community households. These are the highest percentages since 2019 and represent a considerable increase among registered Rohingya and host community populations with 23 and 20 percent more households reporting debt, respectively.

• Labour force participation in both communities has remained roughly equal to 2020 but REVA-5 saw heightened unemployment rates. Half of the Rohingya and 18 percent of the host community potential labour force were not engaged in any sort of income-generating activity. The employment rate decreased for the Rohingya and remained at similar levels for the host community on average. This implies that income opportunities were reduced further for the refugees, while the host community has yet to recover from the post-pandemic economic shock.

• The proportion of Rohingya households selling part of their assistance decreased by 5 percent reaching 27 percent in 2021 – down from 32 percent in 2020. These results reflect the effectiveness of WFP’s programmatic interventions, including rice capping and the scale-up of fresh food, in meeting household preferences and reducing the sale of humanitarian assistance. Out of the 27 percent of all households who sold part of their assistance, approximately two thirds (40 percent of population in total) did so in order to buy other food items of their preference, mainly fresh fish and vegetables.

• Food remains the most cited priority need for both communities (82 percent among Rohingya households versus 59 percent among host community households) driven by the need for greater access to fresh food or continuation of food assistance. The need for livelihood opportunities was reported by half of the households from both communities and represents the level at which livelihood opportunities were inadequate, especially for unregistered Rohingya households.

• The resilience of Rohingya and host communities remain very low with about 60 percent of refugee and 50 percent of host community households presenting low resilience scores. The absorptive capacity (i.e., capacity to bounce back after a shock) was the dimension where the largest share of households with low resilience levels was found.