Host Community Situation Analysis Impact of Rohingya Influx on Host Communities in Ukhia and Teknaf

Publication Date: 01/02/2018

Bangladesh became host to what is now the biggest refugee camp in the whole world. By November 2017 836,487 FDMN (Forcefully Displaced Myanmar Nationals) fled across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border to settle here mostly in two Upazilas:Ukhia and Teknaf of Cox's Bazar district. By January 2018, it became clear that this would be a prolonged crisis lasting years as the Myanmar government continued dithering about taking them back, and as also the FDMN expressed their unwillingness to go back fearing persecution. As a result of this huge and sudden influx, lives and livelihoods of the host communities have been affected in many ways. Therefore, this Situational Assessment aims to assess both the visible economic and the subtle social impacts of the recent influx on the host communities. Using Oxford’s integration conceptual framework, this assessment has been conducted to chalk out CARE Bangladesh’s future response to the refugee crisis by involving the host communities in the process and addressing their concerns so that the tension between the two communities is defused rather than intensified.
Presence of the refugees has brought about many social and economic changes creating massive pressure on the host communities. Economic activities in the two upazilas have gone through transitions, leading to the emergence of a new market system and reducing employment opportunities for the host communities.
On one hand prices of essentials have shot up almost twice as much, and on the other, due to an unpredictably large number of refugees entering the local labor market wages for day laborers have gone down. Though refugees are living in highly congested camps, they are getting aid materials as well as economic opportunity in the local market. On the contrary, the host communities are finding themselves pitted against the refugees as either their work have been taken away or their earnings significantly reduced. It is true that a few locally influential people owning large tracts of land and businesses are benefitting from the availability of cheap labor, but the poor and the ultra-poor from the host communities are bearing the brunt of these changes. Access to administrative, educational and healthcare needs has diminished. Reduced access and availability of CPR-resultant scarcity of timber, bamboo for shelter, food & cooking fuel created insecurity of accessing resources. Due to security risk of woman and girls mobility has goes down, women income earning opportunity getting reduced; all of this has evidently created tension between the host and the refugee communities and within host community households. If left unaddressed, this tension is likely to rise to the extent of creating potential threats of ethnic conflicts.
In response to these findings of the situational analysis possible types of interventions could be Gender specific livelihoods strengthening initiatives based on diversification of off/on farm activities, Transformative approach to build life free from GBV, Promoting youth leadership and Strengthening service delivery and demand side functions through Inclusive governance.

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