Rapid Needs Assessment of the Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar

In March 2018, researchers from Harvard FXB and BRAC (the Bangladeshi-based international nongovernmental organization) conducted a rapid assessment household survey among 800 Rohingya and host families in Ukhia and Teknaf in the District of Cox’s Bazar in southern Bangladesh, on the border of Myanmar. Preliminary results are available here. The study underscored the alarmingly low levels of vaccination among the Rohingya in Myanmar, the high mortality rate among young men (as seen in the figure above), the larger number of female-headed households in the Rohingya families, and the low levels of literacy and skills among them – all of which impact planning education services and livelihoods integration for the hundreds of thousands that have migrated in the last year.

Health and Human Rights Journal is publishing the latest paper from the assessment, “The Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar: When the Stateless Seek Refuge,” authored by Abhishek Bhatia, Ayesha Mahmud, Arlan Fuller, Rebecca Shin, Azad Rahman, Tanvir Shatil, Mahmuda Sultana, K. A. M Morshed, Jennifer Leaning, and Satchit Balsari. The abstract of the paper follows:

The Rohingya people of Myanmar have been subject to human rights violations through government-sponsored discrimination and violence. Since August 2017, an intensified assault by Myanmar authorities has resulted in a rapid increase of Rohingya pouring into Bangladesh, and the expansion of refugee settlements in the district of Cox’s Bazar has strained humanitarian and government relief efforts. Assessing Rohingya and host community needs is critical for prioritizing resource allocations and for documenting the rights violations suffered by Rohingya refugees. From March 15 to 18, 2018, we conducted a rapid needs assessment of recently arrived Rohingya and host community households. We collected data on demographics, mortality, education, livelihoods, access to food and water, vaccination, and health care. Among other things, our survey found high levels of mortality among young Rohingya men, alarmingly low levels of vaccination among children, poor literacy, and rising poverty. Denied formal refugee status, the Rohingya cannot access due protections and find themselves in a state of insecurity in which they are unsure of their future and unable to formally seek work or send their children to school. While the government of Bangladesh explores the options of repatriation, relocation, and third-country resettlement for these refugees, it is important to ensure that they are not denied a life of dignity.

Read more from the paper.

Read more about Harvard FXB’s past and future work on the Rohingya.