Refugee Influx Emergency Vulnerability Assessment (REVA-5) – Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh – Synthesis Report (March 2022) – Bangladesh

Highlights

• Overall vulnerability levels have remained alarming since 2020 among Rohingya households. The latest findings showed that 95% of all Rohingya households are moderately to highly vulnerable and remain entirely dependent on humanitarian aid, as in 2020 (96%). These results reflect the slow economic recovery of an already fragile population without sources of income or livelihood opportunities.

• Overall host community vulnerability also remained as high as in 2020, with 52% of the population moderately to highly vulnerable in 2021, compared to 51% in 2020. The main drivers were economic contraction and declining of economic activity in most sectors during the confinement linked to COVID-19 in a population highly dependent on daily salaried work.

• The proportion of Rohingya households with inadequate food consumption (poor and borderline) improved in 2021 to 45%, from 50% the previous year – but remains above pre-COVID-19 levels in 2019 ( 42%). In the host community, the proportion of inadequate food consumption has increased in 2021 to 38% of surveyed households, due to the increase in the proportion of households with borderline food consumption – showing continued challenges for the population of home to meet their food consumption needs after COVID -19.

• Discounting the value of assistance, a simulated scenario showed that economic vulnerability would remain high with 94% of Rohingya households consuming below the Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB); reflecting the fragility of the camp economy and its total dependence on assistance to cover the basic needs of almost all households.

• Despite the current level of humanitarian aid, 51% of Rohingya households cannot afford the Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB). Compared to 2020, economic vulnerability has deteriorated slightly among Rohingya (by 2%) and host communities (2%). This indicates a significant reliance on humanitarian aid when discounting humanitarian aid. It also indicates that assistance can only compensate for needs because of underlying fragility.

• The monthly food budget remained high: 71% for Rohingya households and 65% for host communities. For Rohingya households, this is only slightly below the severe economic vulnerability threshold of 75%.

• Two-thirds of Rohingya households (68%) and half of host community households (52%) have relied on less preferred or less expensive foods for at least one day, representing the coping strategy the most frequently used for both populations. More than a third of Rohingya households (36%) and a quarter of host community households (25%) borrowed food or relied on support from friends or relatives.

• Almost two-thirds of Rohingya households (64%) had to employ at least one crisis or emergency strategy, while a quarter (26%) applied stress coping strategies. In the host community, the proportion of households using stress coping strategies increased from 30% to 43% between 2020 and 2021. The increased use of these strategies compared to 2020 reflects the greater number of households facing insufficient resources to independently cover their basic needs, likely due to the impact of the pandemic on the local economy and livelihoods, and the 2021 shutdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 .

• The percentage of indebted households for both populations was very high: 79% of Rohingya households and 77% of host community households. These are the highest percentages since 2019 and represent a considerable increase among registered Rohingya and host community populations, with 23% and 20% more households respectively reporting debt.

• Labor force participation in both communities remained roughly equal in 2020, but REVA-5 saw an increase in unemployment rates. Half of the Rohingya and 18% of the host community workforce were not engaged in any income-generating activity. The employment rate declined for Rohingya and remained at similar levels for the host community on average. This implies that income opportunities have been further reduced for refugees and that the host community has yet to recover from the post-pandemic economic shock.

• The proportion of Rohingya households selling part of their assistance decreased by 5% to 27% in 2021, compared to 32% in 2020. These results reflect the effectiveness of WFP’s programmatic interventions, including the rice ceiling and the scaling up of fresh foods to meet household preferences and reduce the need to sell humanitarian aid. More than two out of three Rohingya households (68%) who said they sold food aid did so to buy other food items of their choice, mainly fish and fresh vegetables.

• Food remains the most cited priority need for both communities (82% among Rohingya households versus 59% among host community households) due to the need for better access to fresh food or continued food aid. The need for livelihood opportunities was reported by half of the households in both communities and represents the level at which livelihood opportunities were available but inadequate.

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