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Thematic Report – January 2018 - Rohingya crisis: Host communities review

The aim of this brief is to investigate the situation and needs of host communities in Cox’s Bazar. This brief first evaluates host communities’ needs related to all sectors, and it also looks at potential sources of tension among host communities and the Rohingya population.

The Rohingya influx in Cox’s Bazar has put pressure on the district’s Bangladeshi community, particularly in the upazilas of Teknaf and Ukhia where the Rohingya now constitute at least one third of the total population. The Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) aims to meet the needs of 300,000 (54%) Bangladeshi of Teknaf and Ukhia, in the seven unions with the highest proportion of Rohingya people. However, host communities in Teknaf and Ukhia have indicated feeling ignored by humanitarian organisations and reports of tensions between the Rohingya and Bangladeshi communities have emerged. This brief aims to provide an overview of what is known about the communities in Cox’s Bazar, which are now host to around 900,400 Rohingya people. As the majority of the Rohingya population is situated in Ukhia and Teknaf, this brief mainly focuses on these two upazilas where possible.

For the purpose of this brief, the host community refer to all Bangladeshi people living in Ukhia and Teknaf upazilas of Cox’s Bazar, and are often referred to as ‘host communities’ throughout the brief. Given the size of the influx, the entire population of the two upazilas is estimated to be affected by the influx.

Cox’s Bazar is one of 20 (out of 64) identified ‘lagging districts’ of Bangladesh, and Ukhia and Teknaf upazilas are among the 50 most socially deprived upazilas (out of 509). Difficult terrain, bad roads and insufficient infrastructure contribute to poor living conditions. A lack of cultivatable land and consequent dependence on markets for food in Ukhia and Teknaf drive high levels of food insecurity, and vulnerability to price fluctuations and food availability. The area has limited access to drinking water, particularly in remote rural areas, and only one third of people have a drinking water source in their dwelling. This, combined with low access to improved sanitation facilities, has contributed to high levels of malnutrition.

Access to health facilities is restricted by distance and limited capacity of facilities to provide services.
There are serious protection concerns related to trafficking and organised crime that persist in Cox’s Bazar, due to the combination of poverty with its position on the border with Myanmar and the Bay of Bengal.

Rohingya populations, in fluctuating numbers, have been present in villages in Ukhia and Teknaf since 1991. Their presence has, at some points, positively impacted the local economy as the population of these upazilas took advantage of new labour and livelihood opportunities provided by aid workers in and around camps. However, over time, their presence has increasingly strained already scarce resources.

The rapid arrival of 688,000 Rohingya refugees since August 2017 has been a significant shock to a community which already experiences underemployment, under-investment and poor access to services as challenges to development (ISCG 21/01/2017).

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
Assessment Capacities Project
Original Publication Date: 
30 Jan 2018
Document type: 
Analysis Report
Cox's Bazar
Coordination hub(s): 
Cox's Bazar
Bangladesh: Rohingya Refugee Crisis 2017-2020