Bangladesh: Emergency Preparedness & Response

Bangladesh: Emergency Preparedness & Response

Many people in the camps fear the uncertainty of the future of returning to an unsafe situation in Myanmar or having to stay in camps longer-term. The trauma and violence they have experienced while fleeing does not fade easily. This, combined with the frustration of not being able to work or provide for their families in the camps, causes some to resort to negative coping mechanisms, such as illegal and unsafe migration, exploitative working conditions, child marriage, or domestic violence. The difficult circumstances in the camps can create a greater risk for violence against women and girls. For example, many camps do not have enough sanitation and hygiene facilities for the large populations. A lack of separate facilities for women and girls means they are exposed to possible threats or violence while trying to use the toilet or bathe.

The safety situation in the already crowded camps worsens during the rainy season, which occurs annually in Bangladesh from June to September. Additionally, there is also an increased risk of cyclones from September through October. Both the basic refugee shelters, and the homes of the host community, provide little protection against the strong wind and persistent rain. Because of the severe space limitations in the camps, many shelters are built on steep slopes and can be easily destroyed by mudslides. Preparing for these situations and strengthening the bamboo shelters to withstand the rainy season has become a main priority for many humanitarian organizations, including PIN.

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Ongoing aid

Protection for vulnerable Rohingya communities

Protection for vulnerable Rohingya communities

Pre-existing customs and strict gender roles amongst the Rohingyas, as well as difficult circumstances in the camps, create or contribute to serious risks for some members of the community, such as single mothers, child-headed households, adolescent girls and boys, disabled people and the elderly. In the absence of access to basic services and appropriate income earning opportunities many refugees, and women and adolescent girls in particular, resort to negative coping strategies that can include trafficking, exploitation, sex to survive, or child marriage.
In collaboration with our partner organizations, we support groups of volunteers and community members through the Her Safety workshops that focuses on health, safety, and empowerment topics. In these workshops, participants identify, prioritize, and address protection risks within their communities. They critically analyse how gender and gender relations affect health and safety and identify ways that they can improve the situation and engage others in the community as well. Through small grants, the community groups design and carry out simple and practical improvements in the camps, such as installing lights and locks on temporary toilets and building private bathing facilities for women and girls. Such improvements can reduce the likelihood of safety risks for their families and neighbours. 
Monsoon Preparedness - Shelter upgrade kits and NFI distribution

Monsoon Preparedness - Shelter upgrade kits and NFI distribution

In cooperation with local non-governmental organizations, and with the help of material supplied by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), we funded the training of 300 volunteers on techniques to strengthen their shelters. They have passed their experience down to almost 1,500 households. Nowadays, these refugee families are able to help each other and can improve the bamboo structures of their houses, secure the tarpaulin roofs, and dig basic drains to protect the shelters from flooding in the heavy rains.