Bangladesh: REACH findings highlight concerning sanitation condition in Rohingya refugee sites

January 2, 2018

Dhaka, Bangladesh - Kallayanpur slum, one of the urban slums in Dhaka. United Nations Human Development Report, 2006 Photo Credit:Kibae Park/Sipa Press

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Kallayanpur slum, one of the urban slums in Dhaka. United Nations Human Development Report, 2006 Photo Credit:Kibae Park/Sipa Press

The escalation of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August 2017 has led to over 800,000 Rohingya refugees crossing the border into neighbouring Bangladesh, a number that continues to increase by the day. The recent arrival of refugees has exacerbated pre-existing challenges within the country while adding pressure on basic services especially water, health, shelter, and sanitation in and around refugee sites.

To support the response to this growing humanitarian crisis, REACH was deployed to Bangladesh in September 2017. In partnership with the Global WASH Cluster, REACH conducted two rounds of mapping of infrastructure across the major refugee sites and makeshift settlements in Cox’s Bazar district, with a focus on the availability and functionality of key WASH infrastructure. Overall, findings from these two rounds of mapping identify gaps in WASH infrastructure and assess progress made over the past months towards minimum humanitarian standards for access to water and sanitation facilities in these fast-growing sites.

Findings from this second round, finalised in November 2017, highlight gaps in WASH infrastructure due to the speed and scale of displacement. This creates risks of contamination and exposes displaced populations to severe health hazards. The sanitation situation varies between sites and is particularly concerning in sites such as Kutupalong MS and Balukhali MS where minimum standards for key sectoral indicators have not yet been met. Furthermore, while most of the assessed sites appear to have access to some type of functioning water points – typically handpumps – further understanding of the quality and suitability of water available from these sites is needed. WASH site profiles detailing key findings for each site from this latest round of infrastructure mapping are available here.

Based on these findings, REACH and the WASH Cluster identified the urgent need to improve sanitation facilities and access to clean water in these sites. Moreover, there is an important need to raise awareness around good sanitation and hygiene practices to reduce risks to severe health hazards.

REACH is currently conducting a third round of infrastructure mapping in Cox’s Bazar district to further understand the evolution of WASH conditions and infrastructure, informing the planning and delivery of WASH assistance by humanitarian actors.

Access REACH WASH Site profiles Factsheets: Zone AAZone BBZone CCZone DDZone EEZone FFZone GGZone HHZone IIZone JJZone KKZone LLZone MM, Zone NN, Zone OO, Zone PP, Zone QQ, Zone RR, Zone SS, Zone TT, Zone XX, Zone YY, Balukhali, ChakmarkulHakimpara, Jamtoli, Kutupalong MS