World largest Influx of Refugees in Bangladesh

Since August, 2015 extreme violence has driven more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine State in Bangladesh’s south-eastern districts, and hundreds more are arriving every week. They join hundreds of thousands who are already living in refugee camps, side by side local communities in Ukhiya and Teknaf Sub district of Cox’s Bazar. More than half of them are women and girls, 60 percent are children under 18.

Many have arrived injured and deeply traumatized by their experiences, with just the clothes on their backs. They need food, clean water and shelter to survive, but above all they need to feel safe. People are living in makeshift tents in hugely overcrowded settlements. Conditions in the camps are woefully inadequate and unhealthy, with overflowing latrines and contaminated water. They’re largely unlit and dangerous at night – women, girls and children are particularly vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and trafficking. They live in congested sites that are ill-equipped to handle the early rains, monsoon and cyclone seasons. Many refugees have expressed anxiety about their future, condition of being statelessness, legal rights, access to services, justice and restitution.

AWO International response to fastest growing refugee crisis in the world

With an aim to overcome suffering of the Rohingya refugee who fled extreme violence, AWO international with its local partner in Bangladesh, started the initial assessment from first week of September to detail out the actual needs for the most vulnerable group of women and children. After the assessment AWO focused on Water Sanitation and Hygiene promotion, Emergency Shelter Kits along with demonstration of model shelters to most vulnerable and supported winterization materials.

AWO International installed 7 deep tube wells which are more than 600 -840 feet reaching more than 615 households who have now access to potable water. In addition to this, AWO has installed 10 gender and age friendly latrines double units in camp 16 in Ukhia sub district which will stand cyclone and sever weather condition.

To restrain the epidemic outbreak hygiene promotion and dissemination of six key hygiene messages were also oriented with the use of IEC materials to the refugee community in camp 16 and the neighboring areas. More than 500 individuals were reached. Along with this 615 hygiene kits, in line with government and WASH sector standard, were provided to the population in block G of camp 16.

Further, when winter approached AWO distributed more than 615 P-foams (mats), 500 blankets and traditional clothes (Lungi and Thami) for male and female refugees respectively. In addition, 275 shelter kits, tools for shelter improvement were provided to the refugee along with 3 models shelter which could withstand extreme weather event i.e. cyclones and monsoon rain.

So far, AWO international has reach more than 4000 individuals in the refugee camp with direct support through above mentioned relief items and humanitarian work. In a next phase AWO intends to work more with host community to improve their livelihoods and prepare community for upcoming disaster events.