Amidst the massive fire ruins, Rohingya refugees search for their belongings at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh Photo Credits: Yousuf Tushar / LightRocket via Getty Images

The Plight of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar

On March 24, 2021, a massive fire broke ablaze at the Rohingya Refugee camp, in Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar confirming 15 dead and displacing an estimated 45,000 refugees.

According to the Bangladesh’s Disaster Management and Relief Secretary, Mohammad Mohsin, “ confirmed deaths, 40,000 huts have been burned down.” Reuters also reports that, “Louise Donovan, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said that at least 400 people were still missing since the fire, and that some 560 had been injured in the blaze. She said an estimated 45,000 people had been displaced.

Country Overview

  • Population: 165 Million
  • Development Context: Hosts largest refugee camp in the world, millions of people living below the national poverty line, hidden urbanization, lack of access to safe drinking water & proper sanitation in rural communities and ensuring women to participate into mainstream economy.
  • Current Issues: Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment, income inequality, hunger, unsafe water supply, poor sanitation, gender disparity, and Rohingya crisis.

UMR's Working Sustainable Development Goals for Rohingya Refugees, Bangladesh, Cox's Bazar

We work to solve, combat, and eradicate the following UN goals, specifically in the camps of Rohingya Refugees: 

  • SDG GOAL # 1  – No Poverty
  • SDG GOAL # 2 – Zero Hunger
  • SDG GOAL #3 – Good Health & Well-being 
  • SDG GOAL #6 – Clean Water and Sanitation 
To learn more in-depth about the UN’s SDG Goals, please read further here

Photo Credits: Shafiqur Rahmany

What is the current situation at Rohingya Refugee Camps, in Bangladesh, Cox's Bazar?

Bangladesh has made substantial progress in reducing poverty, supported by sustained economic growth over the past three decades. Despite the impressive progress in many socio-economic parameters, poverty, hunger, and inequality remain major challenges in Bangladesh. Almost one out of four Bangladeshi’s still live-in poverty and one in eight of the population live in extreme poverty [1]. Recent pandemic has intensified the situation by declining exports, lowering investment, and increasing unemployment.

Moreover, the country has considerable hidden urbanization [2] that is not captured on official definitions and statistics. An undercounted rural-but-urbanizing dense population is vulnerable to the significant risk of epidemic outbreaks due poor WASH coverage and community awareness.Although Bangladesh has made significant progress in improving the access to clean water sources in the last two decades, access to safe drinking water is still low at 34.6 percent [3]. Due to the unavailability of safe drinking water, 38.3 percent of the population are forced to drink water from sources already contaminated with disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Barriers to safe drinking water, alongside sanitation, have a significant negative impact on health and nutrition for children and adolescents in Bangladesh.

More than 900,000 Rohingya refugees are in the Cox’s Bazar area in Bangladesh’s southern tip [4] – adding to an already displaced population to make it the largest refugee camp in the world. Being an overpopulated country, Bangladesh is unable to provide the necessary humanitarian needs of the Rohingya population with its limited resources. In addition, the influx of almost 1 million Rohingya profoundly affected local communities — already among the poorest in Bangladesh. Although many humanitarian organizations have come forward with life-saving supplies and services for Rohingya and host communities, many basic needs such as education, health, proper sanitation, etc. are yet to meet.Around half of the 540,000 Rohingya children, ages 3 to 14, are deprived of any kind of formal education. Nutritional deficiencies are highly prevalent among Rohingya refugees, especially among children. Levels of stunting among children remain at more than 30% [5]

What types of interventions does UMR implement?

UMR Bangladesh envisions future refugees and native communities in Bangladesh are able to live with dignity and to be resilient/self-reliant through three country-specific priorities: (a) disease prevention in high-density populations with high risk of epidemic, (b) overcoming barriers to access in remote and rural populations, and (c) rapid but sustainable interventions for vulnerable populations.

  • UMR’s core program value mainly focuses on improvement of people’s lives through implementation of the Water Sanitation and Hygiene, Emergency Medical Cares and Food Distribution projects in Bangladesh.
  • UMR’s approach prioritizes the remote, rural, and/or chronically vulnerable areas to make clean water accessible in Bangladesh. By building tube wells in the underserved and deprived areas, UMR ensures not just equal and sufficient access to clean drinking water for the whole community but prevents the spread of diseases in Bangladesh.
  • UMR’s Health Program has intervened into two main activities: emergency medical care for Rohingya refugees by building an ambulatory clinic in Cox’s bazar and primary eye care services of preventable diseases like cataract and low vision. In addition to providing treatment for diseases like Glaucoma, the patients were provided with eyeglasses free of cost for poor and needy communities in Bangladesh.
  • UMR’s Ramadan and Qurbani food programs provided food parcels, and a mix of Iftar meals, Eid, and Zakat cash vouchers to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. UMR’s approach to household food security is based on two principles (a) cultural sensitivity, and (b) dignified household nourishment.

How you can help support Rohingya Refugees?

Amidst the massive fire ruins, Rohingya refugees search for their belongings at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh Photo Credits: Yousuf Tushar / LightRocket via Getty Images

The Plight of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar

On March 24, 2021, a massive fire broke ablaze at the Rohingya Refugee camp, in Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar confirming 15 dead and displacing an estimated 45,000 refugees.

According to the Bangladesh’s Disaster Management and Relief Secretary, Mohammad Mohsin, “11 have been confirmed dead, 40,000 huts have been burned down.”

Reuters reports, “Louise Donovan, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said that at least 400 people were still missing since the fire, and that some 560 had been injured in the blaze. She said an estimated 45,000 people had been displaced.

Country Overview

  • Population: 165 Million
  • Development Context: Hosts largest refugee camp in the world, millions of people living below the national poverty line, hidden urbanization, lack of access to safe drinking water & proper sanitation in rural communities and ensuring women to participate into mainstream economy.
  • Current Issues: Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment, income inequality, hunger, unsafe water supply, poor sanitation, gender disparity, and Rohingya crisis.

UMR's Working Sustainable Development Goals for Rohingya Refugees, Bangladesh, Cox's Bazar

We work to solve, combat, and eradicate the following UN goals, specifically in the camps of Rohingya Refugees: 

  • SDG GOAL # 1  – No Poverty
  • SDG GOAL # 2 – Zero Hunger
  • SDG GOAL #3 – Good Health & Well-being 
  • SDG GOAL #6 – Clean Water and Sanitation 
To learn more in-depth about the UN’s SDG Goals, please read further here

Photo Credits: Shafiqur Rahmany

What is the current situation in Rohingya Refugee Camps, Bangladesh, Cox's Bazar?

Bangladesh has made substantial progress in reducing poverty, supported by sustained economic growth over the past three decades. Despite the impressive progress in many socio-economic parameters, poverty, hunger, and inequality remain major challenges in Bangladesh. Almost one out of four Bangladeshi’s still live-in poverty and one in eight of the population live in extreme poverty [1]. Recent pandemic has intensified the situation by declining exports, lowering investment, and increasing unemployment.

Moreover, the country has considerable hidden urbanization [2] that is not captured on official definitions and statistics. An undercounted rural-but-urbanizing dense population is vulnerable to the significant risk of epidemic outbreaks due poor WASH coverage and community awareness.Although Bangladesh has made significant progress in improving the access to clean water sources in the last two decades, access to safe drinking water is still low at 34.6 percent [3]. Due to the unavailability of safe drinking water, 38.3 percent of the population are forced to drink water from sources already contaminated with disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Barriers to safe drinking water, alongside sanitation, have a significant negative impact on health and nutrition for children and adolescents in Bangladesh.

More than 900,000 Rohingya refugees are in the Cox’s Bazar area in Bangladesh’s southern tip [4] – adding to an already displaced population to make it the largest refugee camp in the world. Being an overpopulated country, Bangladesh is unable to provide the necessary humanitarian needs of the Rohingya population with its limited resources. In addition, the influx of almost 1 million Rohingya profoundly affected local communities — already among the poorest in Bangladesh. Although many humanitarian organizations have come forward with life-saving supplies and services for Rohingya and host communities, many basic needs such as education, health, proper sanitation, etc. are yet to meet.Around half of the 540,000 Rohingya children, ages 3 to 14, are deprived of any kind of formal education. Nutritional deficiencies are highly prevalent among Rohingya refugees, especially among children. Levels of stunting among children remain at more than 30% [5]

What types of interventions does UMR implement?

UMR Bangladesh envisions future refugees and native communities in Bangladesh are able to live with dignity and to be resilient/self-reliant through three country-specific priorities: (a) disease prevention in high-density populations with high risk of epidemic, (b) overcoming barriers to access in remote and rural populations, and (c) rapid but sustainable interventions for vulnerable populations.

  • UMR’s core program value mainly focuses on improvement of people’s lives through implementation of the Water Sanitation and Hygiene, Emergency Medical Cares and Food Distribution projects in Bangladesh.
  • UMR’s approach prioritizes the remote, rural, and/or chronically vulnerable areas to make clean water accessible in Bangladesh. By building tube wells in the underserved and deprived areas, UMR ensures not just equal and sufficient access to clean drinking water for the whole community but prevents the spread of diseases in Bangladesh.
  • UMR’s Health Program has intervened into two main activities: emergency medical care for Rohingya refugees by building an ambulatory clinic in Cox’s bazar and primary eye care services of preventable diseases like cataract and low vision. In addition to providing treatment for diseases like Glaucoma, the patients were provided with eyeglasses free of cost for poor and needy communities in Bangladesh.
  • UMR’s Ramadan and Qurbani food programs provided food parcels, and a mix of Iftar meals, Eid, and Zakat cash vouchers to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. UMR’s approach to household food security is based on two principles (a) cultural sensitivity, and (b) dignified household nourishment.

How you can help support Rohingya Refugees?

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