Improving wash facilities in Rohingya refugee camps and host community

Since August 2017, over 706,000 Myanmar refugees have fled to Bangladesh bringing the total population of fled Rohingyas in the area of Cox’s Bazar to nearly 919,000 people, of which at least 50% are estimated to be women and girls. The influx has resulted in drastic population increase and need of basic supplies. Various assessments were conducted to document WASH and Livelihood concerns and made valuable recommendations interventions highlighting the need for specific and targeted host communities and Rohingya refugees in overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar. The lack of appropriate latrines lacking structure, useable for all age, gender and disable friendly, lack of deep tube wells and the lack of hygiene awareness all contribute to a high risk situation for public health among the camps and host community. Since the influx many organization are providing assistance to the people in need. AWO International with its humanitarian assistance to the neediest has been working since October 2017 in the camps of Cox’s Bazar, supporting to alleviate sufferings of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh. 

Through local partner it implemented a first phase project by providing relief materials to the refugees by supporting Non Food Items, toilet construction and deep bores under WASH; winterization and orientation to local artisan for shelter construction. These activities were some of the major achievements first phase. Carrying further its support to the refugees in a second phase, with priority in WASH sector the project will support construction of all age, gender and disability friendly latrines in ‘D’ block of Jamtoli Camp, Cox’, Ukhiya upzila, Bangladesh. It will also support in maintenance of existing toilets. As per the needs assessment, gaps still exists in portable and drinkable water. To address the need of fresh and clean water, deep bores will be supported as per the norms and recommended standard by Department of Public Health and Engineering, Cox’s Bazaar. Protection issues are of prime concern in the camps, due to settlements movement of women and children is limited. Hence, to address the safety measures and make movement of women and children safe, even after evenings and during dark, the project will support solar street lights at prime locations. 

As outlined in the joint response plan 2018 by Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) for Rohingya response, to maintain the relation between refugees and host community and to reduce the tensions, 20-25% of total budget needs to be allocated for host communities. Henceforth, the project will support deep tube wells that will provide clean and drinkable water to the host community and household level toilets in the adjoining host community. A huge area which earlier was forest and biological corridor for elephants, has been deforested due to refugee settlements. Solar street lights will also be supported in host community for safety and to reduce human wildlife conflict. 

The only exiting girls school in the host community lacks proper sanitation facilities for girls. Therfore the project will support toilets for girls with water supply, inciretion pit and additional changing room. 

The project will also focus on increasing awareness on the risk of health and safe hygiene practices to the various groups of Rohingyas in the camp as these areas have been in the limelight of outbreak of water/airborne disease in the past and present due to post monsoon contaminating water. Awareness sessions will also be conducted in host communities as well. Puppet shows, household level awareness sessions will be undertaken for raising awareness. Complementing the efforts of government, project will also reprint the existing Information Education and Communication materials for hygiene awareness and disseminate in prime locations at camps and host communities.


Project Data:

Duration: 06 months
Country: Bangladesh
District: Chittagong
Up Zila: Ukhiya
Region/location: Jamtoli camp, ‘D’ Block, Ukhiya, Cox’s bazaar.
Sector: Emergency Response
Partner: Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK)