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5 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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100 days of fresh Rohingya influx

Only 34pc of $434m raised so far: UN

UNB
Only 34pc of $434m raised so far: UN

Only 34 percent of the $434 million needed to provide assistance to 1.2 million people, including host communities in Cox's Bazar district, has been raised when Rohingyas are still suffering from various problems, reports UNB quoting a new UN report published yesterday. "Humanitarian partners are working round the clock to respond, but the reality remains that the needs are massive and urgent, and the gaps are wide. More funding is needed," said Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, but more land is needed to improve conditions in the congested camps, said the UN official. One hundred days after the start of the most recent influx, the Inter-Sector Coor­dination Group (ISCG) released the report on the overall status of the humanitarian response to the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh. There are more than 830,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar: 625,000 of them have poured over the border since August 25. These Rohingyas are now living in ten different camps, and among Bangladeshi host communities.

One of the camps has become the largest and fastest growing refugee camp in the world, where approximately half a million people are living extremely close to each other without access to basic services such as toilets or clinics.

The Monitoring Report, which covers the first two months of the response from August 25 to October 31, highlights the work of the government of Bangladesh, in cooperation with humanitarian partners who are working to provide relief services for the refugee population and Bangladeshi host communities.

Of the 1.2 million people in need, around half have been reached with assistance. The report also explains the challenges and gaps that remain.

The risk of disease outbreak is high, and the impact of a cyclone or heavy rain would be massive. There is not enough land to provide adequate living conditions for the more than 830,000 Rohingyas that now crowd Cox’s Bazar. The report defines life-saving priorities for the coming months.

These include improving nutrition, preventing and managing disease outbreak, adequate planning for the new camps, and improving protection across all areas of the response. Around 626,000 new arrivals since August 25 are reported as of December 2, according to IOM Needs and Population Monitoring. Since the latest weekly situation report on November 26, there have been 1,622 new arrivals. As of December 2, the Bangladeshi Immigration and Passports Department has registered 730,654 people through biometric registration.

The government of Bangladesh Social Services Division has identified 36,373 separated and unaccompanied minors. Till December 2, the Armed Forces Division (AFD) has completed 7 kilometers of earthworks of the main road in the Kutupalong Balukhali extension. The AFD has now completed 40% of the earthworks need for the road.

The total length of the road is 20 kilometers.

CHALLENGES:

A solution on land remains critical for all other aspects of the response. Lack of space and overcrowding, with a rapid pace of settlement, remains the core challenge for comprehensive service delivery in the Kutupalong-Balukhali Expansion Site.

Humanitarian partners simply cannot find the space to build and provide services in these settled areas on the undulating land, much of which is at risk of flood or landslide, and refugees continue to arrive and settle around the edges of the mega-site before planning and service installation can be fully undertaken.

Actors have to date been scrambling in their wake, and access to and from the sites is still extremely difficult. Rohingya in other locations continue to be encouraged or forced to move towards the mega-site, compounding the issue.

Among the most critical implications of insufficient access into dense sites is that faecal sludge is not being managed, with at least 9,600 of the 26,163 existing emergency latrines near full or quickly filling. Insufficient allocation of available land for faecal waste management is the core of this issue.

The risk of loss of life and property from fire remains highly elevated, and the security situation in the site is likely to deteriorate.

The almost complete lack of livelihood opportunities is likely to contribute to the use of negative coping mechanisms and exposes the refugees to risks such as trafficking, early marriage and child labour.

Cyclone and heavy rains will be devastating in the sites in their current state. Longer term, there is a risk of salt water intrusion as the water table depletes, which could impact the entire district’s water supply.

The southern upazila, Teknaf, has historically had poor groundwater and is not suitable for longer-term large settlement.

Way Forward:

Activities in the camps will need to focus on rehabilitation and reparation of existing structures, including water and sanitation facilities, as a result of prior damage from the cyclone and the strain of the new arrivals, according to the Monitoring Report UNB obtained from IOM.

Results from a hydrogeological study in Nayapara will allow for a further assessment of the ground water as a potential resource. Education services, although resumed after the relocation of new arrivals, must be enhanced in quality and available grades. Double shifts of health services (morning and evening) need to be provided in order to accommodate additional cases. The improvement of community outreach is necessary in order to allow refugees to more actively participate in and strengthen the response within the camps, including for protection, health and sanitation monitoring.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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