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UNHCR Bangladesh Operational Update, May 2021

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Situation Report
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HIGHLIGHTS

Lockdown measures remained in place throughout May to curb transmission of COVID-19 across the country. UNHCR advocates for the continuation of critical protection activities in the camps.

The 2021 Joint Response Plan was was launched by the Government and humanitarian community seeking US$ 943 million.

UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioners for Protection and for Operations arrived in Bangladesh for a four-day visit, including visits to refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, and the island of Bhasan Char and meetings with senior Government officials in Dhaka.

Operational Context

Lockdown measures have been in place across Bangladesh including the Rohingya refugee camps since the beginning of April following increasing rates of COVID-19 countrywide. This month, the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) further increased restrictive measures across the 34 Rohingya refugee camps in an effort to reduce the risk of further spread of the virus. Similarly, restrictive measures have been imposed in some areas of the surrounding host communities also experiencing higher rates of infection.

The month of May has seen a notable increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the camps. As of 31 May, 1,188 cases were confirmed, and more than half (over 600) of these cases were recorded in May alone. 17 deaths have been reported in the camps since March 2020, 6 of which during the period April - May 2021. During the month of May the test positivity rate among refugees in the camps increased to 13% (up from 3% in April), whereas in the host communities in Cox’s Bazar, the rate decreased from 15.3% in April to 12% in May.

In addition to COVID-19, heavy rains marked the start of the monsoon and Cyclone Yaas formed in the Bay of Bengal. UNHCR mobilized its multifunctional emergency response teams, site management support partners, and volunteers in the camps to prepare and respond. Fortunately, the cyclone did not make landfall in Cox’s Bazar, however the heavy rain and wind damaged nearly 700 shelters in the camps.
UNHCR and partners provided material support to those households affected.