Inside the largest refugee camp in the world – Bangladesh – July/Aug 2018
Photo credit Haidee-Laure
On August 25, 2017, violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine State following a military counter-offensive that targeted Rohingya militants associated with the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). This triggered a massive influx of Rohingya – by July 2018, the Inter Sector Coordination Group estimated that 706,364 had fled into Southern Bangladesh to seek refuge from the extreme violence. These refugees joined the 200,000 Rohingya population who fled Bangladesh through successive waves of displacement since the 1990’s.
The total estimated refugee population in Cox’s Bazar district – on the other side of the border from Myanmar – was 918,936 in July/Aug 2018. The majority of Rohingya refugees live in one of three main camps of Kutupalong, Balukhali (Ukhia Upazila) and Leda (Teknaf Upazila) near the main crossing points from Myanmar. With an estimated population of 626,000, Kutupalong is now the world’s largest refugee camp.
The speed and scale of the influx resulted in an extreme humanitarian emergency, with the previously available service providers under severe strain due to the massive increase of people in the area. Living conditions in the camp were dire, with severe overcrowding and insufficient basic facilities; refugees were reliant on humanitarian assistance for food and other life-saving services such as primary health care. Refugees are exposed to cyclical natural hazards and live in congested sites that are ill-equipped to handle monsoon rains and cyclone seasons.
Haidee-Laure – Abbey Solutions’ International Consultant
Haidee-Laure independent from ASI supported the International Rescue Committee (IRC)’s emergency response during the monsoon season by managing a portfolio of grant projects, as well as prospecting for further business opportunities to support the next phase of intervention.
Haidee-Laure primarily dealt with UN agencies operating in the camp, key government donors and private foundations. Projects mainly focused on the provision of primary health care, women’s and girls’ protection, and children’s protection, through the establishment of mobile medical teams, a health post, as well as a number of women’s centers through the Camp.
Working closely with programmes teams, Haidee-Laure’s role included guiding new project development, supporting IRC Bangladesh’s office partnership strategy and the implementation of the monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEAL) strategy, as well as preparing bi-weekly situation reports and updates to highlight the evolution of the crisis to a wider audience.
Abbey Solutions will be working in Bangladesh in 2021 to develop projects that reduce the number of young women and girls trafficked into the sex industry from the camp, through vocational training projects in association with Asian Foundations.
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Humanitarian Response – Situation report 2019