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Helping Host Communities #ISCGPhotostory

Almost one fourth of planned activities and requested funds under the Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis is targeted for Bangladeshi host communities (336,000 persons) directly impacted by the crisis, acknowledging that the presence of 900,000 Rohingya refugees has had a considerable effect on the local communities who have often been the first responders in this influx.

"When the Rohingyas first came all those months ago, I moved out from my house to a small room nearby, so that some families could stay in my home," says Ali Ahmed of Chakmarkul." © ISCG/Nayana Bose

"The Government and people of Bangladesh have opened their borders, homes and hearts to a people who have been forced to flee targeted persecution. Support to the host communities affected by the crisis is an important part of the Joint Response Plan for 2018, and its implementation depends upon timely support from donors and through integrated social cohesion activities, many of which are underway,” says Sumbul Rizvi, the Senior Coordinator of the Rohingya Refugee Response.

© FAO/Amitabh Chakma (TOP): Abul Kasim, 65, from the FAO-supported farmer’s group in Keruntali Village shows off his crop cultivated with technical assistance from FAO Field Staff and the Department of Agriculture Extension, (LEFT): 35-year old Roija Khatun in Keruntali Village and her 5-year old son harvest red amaranth grown from seeds provided by FAO during a Farmer Field School Training in which she and 20 members of her community participated. The high-nutrient seeds help improve nutrition at the household level. (RIGHT): Farmers in Keruntali Village in Teknaf Sub-district set-up a high-efficiency water pump to irrigate second crop rice as the seasonal rains are still months off. This timely support from FAO will increase productivity by as much as 15-20%.
Locals are working to elevate platform shelter areas as part of camp mitigation works in Purbo Assarbonia © IOM

Under the JRP, there are 101 projects, targeted at host communities, across 10 sectors ranging from Education, Food Security, Health, WASH and others. In preparation for the monsoon connecting roads in Ukhia and Teknaf are being repaired; 20 public buildings are being assessed and upgraded for possible shelters: and main waterways (canals) are being dredged to avoid overflow and flooding. Many local NGOs run by the people of Cox’s Bazar district are included in the Joint Response Plan, as partners or with independent projects and are currently providing relief to refugees and host communities.

A 40-kilometre stretch of a raised road, soon to be brick-covered, in preparation for the monsoon season and a bridge built by volunteers as part of a UNDP ‘cash for work’ programme. © Stacey Winston\UNDP
(TOP) Women Against Violence: Marking 16 Days of Activism at Kutpulong Women’s Friendly Space run by UNFPA and Mukti. These spaces support both host and Rohingya women. UNFPA operates 19 Women Friendly Spaces © UNFPA; (LEFT) The second round of Oral Cholera Vaccination (OCV) campaign covers at least 135,000 people from Bangladeshi host community to ensure that they are protected during monsoon against any potential cholera outbreak. © UNICEF/2018/Sokol; (RIGHT) The access road built by host community workers funded by ADRA/UNHCR, leading to the new area in Chakmarkul camp. ©ISCG/Nayana Bose
© UNHCR/Caroline Gluck (LEFT) In a Primary School, which hosts 650 students, UNHCR and BRAC are replacing leaking roofs in several classrooms, installing additional toilet facilities, replacing broken doors and windows, and carrying out other building repairs. The school was used to shelter Rohingya refugees for about a week when the large influx into Bangladesh began in late August last year; (RIGHT) UNHCR has installed nearly 200 solar lights in public areas within and on the outskirts of the northern part of Kutupalong refugee settlement. Around 20 solar lights were installed here in Foliapara host community village, with a population of 10,600. Lights are essential for enhancing community safety and security.
© WFP/ Saikat Mojumder (LEFT) Senuara Begum (22); (RIGHT) Khaleda Begum (25) are a beneficiaries from the host community who received training on BCC and cash support from WFP to make them self-reliant in Sunaipara, Ukhiya.
(TOP) Locals and refugees are constructing a bamboo bridge in Nayapara Camp, Shamlapur © IOM/ Rubio Reuben; (BOTTOM) A bridge connecting the road with the camp is made with bamboos, by workers both from the host community and refugees in Unchiprang. Workers from both the refugees and host communities ‍are carrying out mitigation activities under a cash for work project © ISCG/ Salma Rahman.
In any refugee response, the host community plays a part. Workers building the access road to new area in Chakmarkul camp. ©ISCG/Nayana Bose
© ISCG/Nayana Bose (TOP) Host community workers contracted by the Government of Oman, making bamboo mats for the new shelters that will come up in the additional land near Chakmarkul camp; (LEFT): host community workers putting in a culvert in the access road leading to the new area near Chakmarkul camp, contracted by ADRA/UNHCR; (RIGHT): workers from the refugee and host community, clearing out land given near Unchiprang camp for new shelters, contracted by IOM. A new mosque (bamboo structure at the back) is also being built.

In this crisis, given the scale, the numbers, the terrain, the host community has played a vital role in sheltering refugees in the early days. The challenges are many, and with renewed support to host communities including efforts to reduce tensions and strengthen their resilience, we trust that this partnership will continue.

Host community labourers draining 9km of an abandoned canal in Hakimpura to save their area from severe floods during the monsoon. © IOM/ Damon Elsworth

COVER PHOTO : © FAYSAL AHMAD/CHRISTIAN AID Rabeya and Fatima at Camp 15/Jamtoli. When Fatima's family arrived in September, Rabeya and her husband, host community residents, let them build a shelter on their land and draw water from their tubewell.

For more information please contact; Nayana Bose, Communications and PI Officer, ISCG (communications1@iscgcxb.org), Salma Rahman, National PI Officer, ISCG (communications2@iscgcxb.org)

Credits:

Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG)

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