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The Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals in Bangladesh: Evidence from Household Survey

In late 2017, a surge of Myanmar nationals fleeing violence in their country entered Bangladesh. This wave of more than 600,000 Rohingyas added to earlier inflows, so that by early 2018 there were an estimated 800,000 to 1 million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals (FDMN) residing in Cox’s Bazar District of Chittagong Division in southeastern Bangladesh. The Rohingyas are a small, predominantly Muslim, minority ethnic group from the Rakhine State of Myanmar.

The migrants who arrived before August 2017 lived mainly in two registered camps in two upazilas (sub-districts) of Cox’s Bazar District—Ukhiya and Teknaf. The newer wave of Rohingyas primarily set up makeshift camps around the registered ones, leading to the creation of mega camps such as Kutupalong, the largest refugee camp in the world (Altman 2018). With the large influx of the FDMNs the ratio of the Rohingya to local population has become two to one in the two upazilas. The influx made both the Government of Bangladesh and the donor community concerned about the well-being of the displaced population. Another related concern was the potential adverse effects of the large inflow of FDMN on the short-term and long-term welfare of the host community. Against this background, the present study makes an attempt to assess the current welfare of the Rohingya population and the host community, as well as the potential impacts on the local economy. The specific objectives are to assess the consumption and nutrition, poverty and vulnerability, and income and employment of the Rohingyas. As the influx of the Rohingyas inevitably imposed direct and indirect costs on the host community, the conjoint objective is to assess their current livelihood conditions.

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