Rohingya refugee crisis
Nearly 1.3 million people including Rohingya refugees and host communities are in need of WASH assistance.? Although the coverage of basic WASH services is extensive, accessibility and quality of these services are often inadequate.?
The monsoon season, which began in June, will greatly increase WASH needs. At least 110 water points and 260 latrines have been damaged following heavy rainfall since 9 June.? Humanitarian actors warn of severe monsoon effects in sanitation, as contaminated water and overflowing latrines will pose serious threats, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea, hepatitis, and vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and chikungunya.?
Drinking water remains a priority need in camps, particularly in localised areas of Kutupalong Expansion site where there is limited access to drinking water. Use of unprotected drinking water sources was reported in Camp 20 (unprotected dug wells) and in Jadimura (surface water). Groundwater from tube wells is the most common water source, followed by water tanks and tap stands. In 33% of locations assessed in May, it was reported that nearly nobody treats their water. ?
Access to water continues to be problematic for over 50% of assessed households, largely due to long distances and long wait-times at water sources. Coping strategies related to a shortage of water have been reported including reduction in water consumption. Biggest concerns about access to water were reported among camps in the southern Teknaf area and Camp 20 in the Kutupalong-Balukhali extension site.?
Sanitary conditions are poorest in Kutupalong Expansion site. However, unsanitary conditions have been reported across most of the camps in Cox's Bazar. Overstretched capacity of WASH infrastructure and damage caused to latrines and water points by heavy rains and flooding increase the risk of outbreaks of waterborne diseases. Increased level of water in latrines increases the risk of overflowing and requires more frequent desludging and fecal sludge management.? Open defecation continues to be reported, particularly among small children.?
Problems with access to latrines and bathing facilities were reported by more than 50% of households, particularly overcrowding, long-distances, latrines being clogged, and no availability of soap. Adult women often feel unsafe using latrines at night. The most households reporting problems with access to latrines were located in camps in the Kutupalong-Balukhali extension site.?
Due to the speed of the refugee influx, many WASH facilities had to be installed quickly in response to the crisis, which compromised quality. Latrines were not built with the minimum depth of five feet and were often built close to each other. Many are in unsuitable areas such as too close to shelters, close to rivers, or on steep hills and not accessible for some women, children, elderly people, and people with disabilities.?
Hygiene promotion staff have faced language and communication challenges and sanitation and hygiene practices are poorly understood.?