Briefing note on Bangladesh Rohingya Refugee Crisis

GS News DeskGS News Desk
  Published:  06 March 2018, 10:40 AM

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Since 25 August 2017, 688 000 Rohingya refugees escaping violence in Myanmar have sought protection in Cox’s Bazar district, Bangladesh, increasing the area’s refugee population to more than 900 300. Some 91 percent live in highly congested makeshift settlements and camps.


The refugees are in urgent need of emergency food and nutrition support.

The majority do not have sufficient food, cooking fuel or cooking utensils. The speed and scale of the influx has placed extensive pressure on public services in host communities and may have a long-lasting environmental impact. Firewood collection has exacerbated ongoing serious deforestation in areas surrounding refugee camps, resulting in a dwindling supply of cooking fuel. Refugees – mainly women and children – walk up to 8 km to collect firewood from isolated forests, making them vulnerable to gender-based violence.


The crisis has cost the host community significantly, through loss of natural resources, rises in food, cooking fuel and transportation prices, and a highly competitive labour market with greatly decreased wages. Firewood selling was previously one of the few local income-generating activities. Anti-refugee sentiment and conflict are on the rise, reports reliefweb.


Ensuring livelihood opportunities for host communities is vital to maintain peace and foster social cohesion. FAO is working with the Government to link local production to expanding refugee food markets to generate income and improve refugees’ nutrition.


The risk of landslides has increased as a result of extreme deforestation.

FAO is working with the Government of Bangladesh and humanitarian partners on preparedness plans for the approaching cyclone season. FAO’s future cash-for-work activities in watershed management will help to stabilize the land, prevent topsoil loss and re-establish forests.


FAO chairs the Energy and Environment Technical Working Group and the Livelihoods Working Group, which link United Nations agencies with government ministries. With the Bangladesh Agricultural University, FAO is conducting a market assessment and supply chain analysis for major agricultural commodities to inform a five-year agroforestry programme.

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