The People’s Republic of Bangladesh is the world’s 8th most populous country and sits in South Asia, sharing its borders with India and Myanmar.
It is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, driven partly by strong domestic demand and numerous domestic middle class. The most important areas of the economy driving these developments are transport (most notably aviation), energy (natural gas, oil and increasingly, nuclear), and tourism. The country has been lauded for its openness to welcoming hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Myanmar since 2017. The vast majority of these refugees now reside in sprawling camps in the Cox’s Bazar region in the South.
What are the development challenges in Bangladesh?:
The high risk profile of Bangladesh in terms of natural disasters is compounded by the recent influx of 670,000 refugees fleeing Myanmar. The ‘Joint Response Plan’ estimates that 1.3 million people need urgent assistance, including 110,000 Rohingyas and 336,000 Bangladeshi living in host communities in Ukhia and Teknaf Upazilas of Cox’s Bazar. With monsoon rains likely start in April with a peak in July, the need to mitigate climate risk is critical. Most refugees live in makeshift shelters, in camps and settlements highly vulnerable to floods and landslides, while host communities along the coast of the Bay of Bengal are exposed to cyclone winds and tidal surge.
How does Alliance2015 help?:
Alliance 2015 partners are active in Cox’s Bazar, targeting the camp-based Rohingya population. The most prescient challenge is partly the result of the rushed nature of camp establishment, necessary due to the sudden onset of the crisis. This has left a legacy of poor planning and chaotic expansion which means residents are highly vulnerable to the volatile climate. Annual monsoons have a devastating impact upon shelters and access to basic services, with highly-negative implications for the health and safety of camp populations. Alongside parallel interventions meant to improve the resilience of camp residents to natural disasters, Alliance 2015 partners are currently carrying out the crucial task of assessing the range of risks/needs to contribute to the development of an informed and efficient model for disaster risk reduction and emergency response over the longer term.
Alliance2015 members are active in the following areas:
- inclusive and sustainable growth,
- rural development,
- civil society and governance,
- education, natural resources management,
- civil society and governance,
Informing future actions to improve the resilience of Refugee Populations to natural disasters:
Project partners, REACH, ACTED and Helvetas, are collaborating in the organisation of assessments including: risk analysis, site identification, site profiling, multi-sectoral needs assessments and analysis of the capacity gaps in state bodies responsible for camp management. The results of these assessments will help guide the humanitarian communities ongoing response to the Rohingya refugee crisis, while also providing information on the needs of Bangladeshi host communities who also face challenges stemming from the sizeable influx of refugees into their communities.