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April 19, 2018

Bangladesh : Large-Scale Water Supply Assistance to a Camp for Evacuees From Myanmar

photoThe Kutupalong Camp in southeastern Bangladesh, where some 600,000 people who fled Rakhine State in Myanmar live

Since August 2017, some 800,000 people reportedly have fled Rakhine State in Myanmar for Bangladesh.
JICA is cooperating with the government of Bangladesh and other international agencies to provide support for the evacuees and the host communities in the area.

Survey results have shown that in the camp where some 80 percent of evacuees live, urgently dug shallow tubewells are running dry, and the majority of the shallow tubewells are contaminated with E. coli. Under such circumstances, JICA decided to assist with supplying water in the camp by digging a deep tubewell for which a groundbreaking ceremony was held recently.

E. coli spreads in some 5,000 shallow tubewells that are running dry

The place where JICA is launching water-supply assistance is Kutupalong Camp in Ukhia, Cox's Bazar, southeastern Bangladesh. About 600,000 people, or about 80 percent of the evacuees from Rakhine State in Myanmar, live in this camp. To secure water for the evacuees, about 5,000 shallow wells (about 40 meters deep) were dug, but after excessive drawing of water, sources continue to dry up. Also, survey results have been released showing that more than 80 percent of the shallow tubewells have been contaminated with E. coli, and securing safe water is a major issue in the camp.

photoA well dug next to a toilet. There are concerns about sanitation.

For the past 20 years, JICA has assisted with strengthening the capacity of the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE), the government agency responsible for the rural water supply. The Project for Improvement of Comprehensive Management Capacity of Department of Public Health Engineering on Water Supply, a technical cooperation project, and the Project for Ground Water Investigation and Development of Deep Ground Water Source in Urban and Rural Areas, a grant aid project, are underway.

As the water sanitation problem of the evacuees worsens ahead of the rainy season, which begins in May, the government of Bangladesh requested the construction of water supply facilities. In the past, the government of Japan provided DPHE a drilling rig for deep tubewells that can excavate up to 400 meters down. There are only a few such drilling rigs in Bangladesh other than DPHE's, so it was decided that JICA would use this drilling rig for its work in the camp.

Many international agencies and NGOs are working in the camp, so cooperation among aid agencies, and with the government of Bangladesh, is an important issue. A JICA expert dispatched to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief took the lead in consulting with various agencies and coordinated to provide rapid assistance based on local needs.

Combining a deep tubewell and equipment to supply safe water to 40,000 people

photoA deep tubewell drilling rig planned for use. It was furnished as part of Japanese assistance to Bangladesh.

The water supply system JICA is assisting with will consist of a deep tubewell (400 meters), 5,190 meters of pipeline and 216 water taps. It will be among the largest water supply systems in the camp, supplying some 40,000 people.

JICA will drill the deep tubewell as a part of the grant aid project, and the will hand over to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) the building of the water supply facilities.

At the groundbreaking ceremony on April 8, representatives of the UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, and the IOM said they would like to expand initiatives that combine deep tubewells and water supply equipment and intensively monitor water quality to bring safe water to the evacuees in other sections of the camp.

DPHE pointed out that assistance from Japan had allowed the government of Bangladesh to begin addressing the major issue of soundly dealing with the large number of evacuees, and that it is important for aid agencies to cooperate with one another.

Assistance to local governments affected by the large influx of evacuees

photoThe groundbreaking ceremony

Before undertaking this assistance, JICA provided pre-dispatch training in disaster nursing to nurses dispatched to the camp and provided equipment to prevent infectious diseases. JICA has also provided equipment for testing non-communicable diseases (such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases) to the district hospital used by both evacuees and local residents.

In addition, JICA is preparing assistance to local governments affected by the large influx of evacuees such as repairing local infrastructure and supplying machinery and materials for educational facilities.

In coordination with other aid agencies, JICA will continue to support initiatives in a variety of sectors by the government of Bangladesh to assist the evacuees and the host communities.


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