Through community consultations, UNHCR identified 1,400 locations in refugee settlements that need street lighting and mapped those requiring repair. UNHCR is procuring 1,000 solar street lights for installation in refugee sites and will repair the damaged lights. More than 1,600 street lights have been installed as of September in refugee settlements and host community areas to increase security during night time, particularly for women and girls.
A total of 102 incidents of landslides, windstorms, and floods were recorded from 1 to 15 October, affecting 727 families across all settlements. Heavy rains fell in Cox’s Bazar for three consecutive days as a result of Cyclone Titli, which hit Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, India, on 11 October. UNHCR and partners relocated 88 households (384 individuals) at high risk of landslides, as well as families and new arrivals affected by ongoing construction projects in the settlements, to safer areas during the reporting period.
Refugees prepare to respond to a potential cyclone
Refugee volunteers from the Community Outreach Member teams (COMs) have held meetings in their communities to raise awareness on potential cyclone response. The awareness raising sessions cover critical issues such as the protection of persons with specific needs. The volunteers gave briefings on the early warning flag system in place used by the Government of Bangladesh, and advised on the immediate actions refugees would need to take, underlining the importance of keeping families together as well as storing emergency supplies, including food and drinking water. During the reporting week, 10 refugee settlements received information sessions, reaching around 20,000 refugee men and women.
UNHCR’s partner, BRAC also provided awareness raising sessions on similar topics for refugees visiting Information Points and Community Centres. A total of 1,317 refugees have attended the sessions since the sessions started in early September 2018.
As part of its cyclone preparedness, UNHCR protection staff attended Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) refresher sessions in Cox’s Bazar, jointly organised by the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society/International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Society/American Red Cross, BBC Media Action and Translators without Borders. The sessions covered cyclone warning systems, early warning communication with communities, and effective information disemination. A pictorial guidebook has been released in Bangla language, with plans for Burmese translation, for use by field staff and community mobilisers.
Since January 2018, 307 Community Outreach Members (COMs), 208 men, 99 women, have conducted 19,081 home visits to reach out to all members of the refugee community for feedback on various aspects of their life in the settlements. In total 68,040 persons (32,018 male and 36,022 female) were reached. Furthermore, 13,309 awareness raising sessions were conducted on protection concerns, diphtheria, fire safety, emergency preparedness, landslide risks, cholera, the joint Government of Bangladesh-UNHCR verification, voluntary return questions, and hygiene issues, reaching 272,419 refugees (136,670 men and 135,749 women). Of 18,315 cases identified for support, 1,311 were referred for urgent intervention, 4,269 cases were provided direct support, and 3,582 others received assistance through UNHCR’s community protection partnerships with Technical Assistance Inc. (TAI) and BRAC.