2021 marks the fourth year of displacement for the Rohingya people. Since violence broke out in the Rakhine state of Myanmar in 2017, over 898,000 men, women and children have fled across the border into Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, joining an estimated 212,000 refugees already living in the area.
As the Rohingya lack secure legal status and cannot move freely or work, they must rely entirely on humanitarian aid. Considered stateless, the Rohingya now make their homes in one of the most congested refugee camps in the world, living in bamboo shelters perched precariously on land prone to extreme weather events including flooding and landslides, and uniquely vulnerable to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Access to basic services, including adequate sanitation, healthcare, livelihoods and education, remains limited.
Refugees have certainly put a strain on the half a million Bangladeshis living in Cox’s Bazar, including on the environment, but the Bangladeshi community—who were the first to respond when the Rohingya arrived— continue to generously host and support refugees.
People we helped in Bangladesh in 2021
Refugees have certainly put a strain on the half a million Bangladeshis living in Cox’s Bazar, including on the environment, but the Bangladeshi community—who were the first to respond when the Rohingya arrived— continue to generously host and support refugees. Since our first activities in northern Bangladesh in 2016, NRC has obtained legal registration (2018) and scaled up to respond to the Rohingya influx. In 2021, alongside partners, our operations have included shelter and WASH, responding to health and weather-related emergencies, ensuring education continuity through in-person and digital learning, and scaling up information counselling for refugees and host Bangladeshis. In 2022, WASH will expand into a stand-alone programme, and integrated activities will address the impacts of displacement from climate change and forced migration in Cox’s Bazar and in the southern coast of Bangladesh.
We are working with Rohingya volunteers and members of the host community to provide children, adolescents and youth with quality education through:
- life skills sessions that help youth and adolescents avoid threats and mitigate protection risks
- teacher training and capacity building in psychosocial support, health and hygiene, and disaster risk management to support the wellbeing and safety of beneficiaries
- technical training to develop skills that will empower youth to gain greater self-reliance for themselves and their families in a future that is extremely uncertain
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
We work to provide information, counselling and legal assistance by:
- researching the impacts of the refugee crisis on the Rohingya and the communities hosting them
- disseminating information, and promoting and assisting Rohingya in obtaining civil documentation (such as birth documentation, records of marriages, divorces and deaths)
- collaborating with local actors to resolve housing, land and property conflicts between Rohingya and Bangladeshi communities through alternate dispute resolution mechanisms
Shelter and settlements
Our newest core competency integrates shelter and WASH support, and meets the main concerns of the Rohingya refugees and the most vulnerable host community members facing deterioration of shelters, a lack of adequate lighting, and access to safe, hygienic facilities by:
- repairing and rebuilding shelters, and hygienic WASH facilities in the aftermath of sudden onset disasters
- providing refugee and host community households with sustainable solar energy lighting to improve safety, dignity and enhance quality of life
- assisting vulnerable host community households, especially female, elderly and refugees with disabilities
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
- Education Cannot Wait
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
About NRC in Bangladesh
Another week, another fire in the Rohingya refugee camps
At approximately 15.30 on 8 March, a fire broke out in Camp 5 of the Cox’s Bazar refugee complex. The camps in Bangladesh are among the largest in the world, and home to almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees. This is the sixth fire in the camps in 2022, and initial assessments indicate it might be the deadliest one yet.
Why social cohesion matters for the Rohingya and host Bangladeshi communities.
Development Actors and the Nexus; lessons from crises in Bangladesh, Cameroon and Somalia
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