On August 25, 2017, violence in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, forced more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees (estimated to be more than 90% of the Rohingya population in Rakhine State) to flee to shelter in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. The majority of them them were women, children (including newborns) and the elderly.
They joined more than 200,000 Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar during previous waves of communal violence, creating a humanitarian crisis on an almost unprecedented scale. The UN estimates that there are now at least 855,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
Arriving malnourished, exhausted, sick, traumatized and sometimes injured, this huge influx of refugees rapidly overwhelmed existing camps and humanitarian aid services. A massive relief operation was launched to meet the immediate needs of refugees during what was then the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world.
How We Are Helping
We are working in close partnership with Rohingya communities to empower them to live in health and dignity. We are focusing on immediate needs and longer-term strategies to strengthen community resilience and support community-led services.
CPI is working in partnership with Rohingya communities to train and equip a network of Rohingya Community Health Volunteers (CHVs). These CHVs travel from house to house in their neighborhoods, educating households on how to stay healthy, helping them to understand the health services available, distributing health and hygiene supplies, monitoring health and referring those in need of care to suitable health facilities. CPI is also training and equipping the CHVs to act as first responders in medical emergencies, landslides and floods.
CPI has mobilized CHVs to support COVID-19 prevention and response in the refugee camps in Cox's Bazar. The CHVs are supporting COVID-19 awareness-raising and communication around risks and prevention, distributing hygiene supplies, helping with contact tracing and assisting families with home-based care for suspected COVID-19 with mild symptoms.
CHVs practice patient carrying during an first responder training session in a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. (CPI)
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Inadequate water and sanitation facilities pose a grave threat to the health of refugees and host communities in Cox's Bazar. Many latrines are already full, in a state of disrepair, or positioned too close to wells. Due to the shallow seashore terrain, many tube wells are not deep enough and have now run dry. CPI is training and supporting a network of community-based water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) volunteers to monitor, maintain and upgrade WASH facilities in three camps.
CPI has mobilized WASH volunteers to support COVID-19 prevention and response in the refugee camps. CPI is also supporting the construction of handwashing stations at camp entrances and other strategic locations.
A boy washes his hands at a CPI-supported handwashing station in a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. (CPI)
Gender-Based Violence Prevention
CPI is trains and supports community-based volunteers in six camps to help address the risk and impact of gender-based violence through awareness-raising activities and income generation initiatives for vulnerable women and adolescents.
Adolescent girls attend an education session about gender-based violence in a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. (CPI)
CPI is working with community-based volunteer networks to develop efficient energy solutions for Rohingya populations and Bangaldeshi host communities. These include improved cookstoves and solar lights.
A woman uses a improved cookstove supplied by CPI in a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. (CPI)