Since August 2017, an estimated 745,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in the Ukhia1 and Teknaf Upazilas of Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar District from Myanmar.2 These refugees joined a pre-existing Rohingya refugee population arising from previous waves of displacements dating back to the 1970s, bringing the total refugee population to over 900,000 people. 3 While the majority of these refugees have been settled in spontaneous sites in former forest areas, a significant portion of refugees are living with host communities, in newly-built collective sites interspersed with host communities (as in Camps 24-27 in southern Teknaf), or dispersed within host communities (as in Camp 23 and an unknown number of villages across both Upazilas). Under the leadership and generosity of the Government of Bangladesh, rapid and effective humanitarian action has responded to the life-saving needs of this influx of refugees while also responding to potential impacts on affected host communities primarily in Teknaf and Ukhia Upazilas.
Existing gaps in the pre-crisis living standards within these two Upazilas are essential to consider when trying to understand the impact of the refugee influx on households within the host community. Cox's Bazar District was identified as one of the 20 (out of 64) most 'lagging districts' in Bangladesh, while Teknaf and Ukhia are among the 50 most socially deprived Upazilas of the country.4 The difficult terrain, lack of cultivable land, underdeveloped infrastructure, scarcity of water contributes to the poor living conditions in these Upazilas. Teknaf and Ukhia also experience high levels of natural hazard risk.5 Both are high-risk areas for storm surges and cyclones, with Cox's Bazar District as a whole experiencing a severe storm almost every year since 2015. Infrastructure to mitigate hazard risk is limited; embankments along the Naf river in Teknaf are in a poor state of repair, while the capacity of existing cyclone shelters covers less than 50% of the pre-displacement population in both Upazilas.6 The local community have expressed concerns that the refugee influx may have exacerbated the existing burden of unemployment and difficulties accessing essential services in the region, as well as an overall lack of attention towards their needs.In areas where refugees and host communities live side by side, many are now accessing the same services and depend on the same labour markets, creating potential sources of tension as well as common vulnerabilities to hazards and shocks. While many newly-built facilities provide services to both the host community and refugees, members of host communities have also noted disparities in the quality between new facilities and pre-influx facilities.
Support to host communities from humanitarian actors was specifically factored under the 2019 Joint Response Plan (JRP) and development donors�most notably the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank�have embarked upon significant host community programming in parallel to the refugee response. 8 As a consequence, information on the characteristics and needs of the Bangladeshi population is critically needed in order to inform evidence-driven planning and implementation. However, while secondary information is available at the Upazila or Union level, it is often segregated by sector or project, and has significant limitations in terms of being able to serve as a comprehensive basis for strategic prioritisation and decision-making at the response level.
In order to close this information gap, a multi-sector needs assessment (MSNA) was conducted under the coordination of the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) and facilitated by REACH, in partnership with IOM Bangladesh Needs and Population Monitoring (NPM), ACAPS & NPM Analysis Hub, and Translators Without Borders, in consultation with Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNO).9 The assessment considered all households living in 11 Unions in the two Upazilas hosting the highest caseload of Rohingya refugees: Ukhia (5 Unions) and Teknaf (6 Unions).10 Data for the assessment was collected between 11 November 2018 � 25 March 2019, comprised of two components: one representative household survey stratified by Union and Upazila (conducted 11 November � 6 December 2018), followed by focus group discussions (conducted 18-25 March 2019). A total of 2,881 household interviews were completed, gender balanced with 55% female respondents and 45% male. This quantitative portion of the assessment provides data that is statistically representative at Upazila (95% confidence level and 3% margin of error) and Union level (95% confidence level and 6% margin of error). Raw and analysed data from the assessment's quantitative component can be accessed on Humanitarian Data Exchange. The qualitative portion of the assessment consisted of 22 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), two per union segregated by gender, ranging between 8-12 participants in each Union.
Source: Inter Sector Coordination Group