This emergency appeal is launched on a preliminary basis and targets a total of 3,265,766 Swiss francs to enable the IFRC to assist the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) in providing assistance and support to some 25,000 people during 9 months, with a focus on the following sectors: Health, WASH, food security, nutrition, emergency shelter, non-food items, restoring family links and disaster risk reduction. The planned response reflects the current situation and the information available at the time of the operation’s progress, and will be adjusted by June 1, 2017 on the basis of detailed assessments and further analysis.
The Crisis and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Response to Date
October-December 2016: Massive population movements take place from Rakhine State in Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar
January 2, 2017: Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) seeks support from partners in country to scale up activities
January 17, 2017: 273,151 Swiss francs allocated by the IFRC Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)
January 25-31, 2017: A joint assessment of the Movement (BDRCS, IFRC and ICRC) takes place in different areas of Cox’s Bazar district
February 7, 2017: A member of the Regional Disaster Response Teams (RDRT) is deployed to support Operation DREF
February 2017: The ICRC is providing 450,000 Swiss francs to the BDRCS response, with the BDRCS also raising 30,000 Swiss francs from its local donors.
March 18, 2017: The IFRC is launching an emergency appeal for 3,265,766 Swiss francs to provide assistance to 25,000 people.
Operational strategy Needs assessment and beneficiary selection The findings of the assessments carried out between December 2016 and January 2017 and an analysis of secondary data indicate that the newly arrived population in Cox’s Bazar is extremely vulnerable. Concerns about newly displaced people include lack of access to food security and nutrition, basic household items,
WASH facilities, shelter, health, psychosocial support (PSS), gender and protection issues and the need for restoring family links (RFL).
Many newcomers lack access to sources of income and insufficient access to minimum levels of food to survive. As a result, many adopt negative coping strategies that affect newcomers as well as host communities and others as a whole. Diarrhea, skin diseases, pneumonia, fever, respiratory tract infections and water-borne illnesses are frequently reported. The available health services are unable to cope with the increase in the number of cases.
The new influx group is also at risk for communicable diseases due to poor preventive measures and poor knowledge of hygiene practices. Inadequate sanitation facilities force open defecation, raising concerns about contamination of water sources. Currently, a community / shared latrine is used by at least 185 households. These latrines are unprotected and are structurally unsound, leading to privacy and security concerns.
Another key aspect that needs to be addressed is the management of menstrual hygiene. Hygiene promotion activities and the distribution of menstruation management materials among women and girls of menstrual age will be considered.
There are considerable psychosocial needs among newcomers, including those related to gender-related risks, including gender-based violence, and insufficient access to information for women due to low literacy rates. Gender roles also have an impact on access to nutrition and, due to the low number of women in the health workforce, there are barriers to women’s access to basic services due to cultural issues related to health. visiting male service providers.
Many of the new arrivals are children, who face risks to their safety and dignity, including exposure to violence and insufficient access to food and water. These risks are even higher for unaccompanied children.
Although sources of potable water are available, they are insufficient to meet minimum needs for drinking, cooking and basic hygiene practices. A shallow hand pump is used by at least 200 households, with each household receiving on average only 17 liters of water. There are also long, hour-long queues in the morning and evening to use the hand pump. In some cases, the water quality is unsuitable for consumption due to poor water management and storage.
The newly arrived population seeks refuge in structures that are often poor and fragile, unable to offer privacy, security or protection from the elements. This is compounded by limited access to building and shelter materials and tool kits – often to limit the establishment of permanent settlements. Cutting hill tops for settlements also increases the risk of soil erosion and landslides around the area. The use of forest trees, shrubs and herbs as fuel for cooking further affects the ecosystem of the region. Therefore, it will be necessary to advocate for support for temporary shelters and environmental protection measures. The new influx of people is also living with insufficient essential household items to meet a family’s minimum needs.
Some of the basic household needs identified include blankets, cooking utensils, mosquito nets, jerry cans, rugs, fireplaces, clothing – saris, longies and baby clothes – towels, buckets with lids and stoves with fuel.
There is a need to intensify community engagement activities within host communities and the influx of people, including the provision of information on the registration process and mobility options. This could include mapping BDRCS services and other stakeholders, improving their visibility and access to targeted people. Health and hygiene promotion messages can be disseminated through posters, brochures and information programs recorded through the radio or loudspeakers for dissemination in strategic locations.
Given the context, the BDRCS has developed a comprehensive response strategy to address the humanitarian needs of those affected. Based on the findings of the assessment, the National Society developed a first one-year Comprehensive Action Plan (PoA) with a budget of CHF 5 million. This emergency appeal covers nine months of this plan, for a budget of CHF 3.26 million.