Inside the Camps in Cox’s Bazar, Lives are Gradually Being Rebuilt

By Manmohan Parkash

At Camp No 5, in Cox's Bazar, there are about 632,000 displaced people still living in terrible conditions. But an international humanitarian effort is helping people in the community in southern Bangladesh live a better life. 

Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh – Hello we are at Camp No 5, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where the conditions are windy, stormy a little bit rainy. Much worse than what it normally would be.

In an area of 5,800 acres there are almost about 632,000 displaced people living here under terrible conditions. The ADB came about a year ago and started its work in the rehabilitation and helping communities live a better life.

The people when they came they really had no shelter, they had no cover over their heads, they had no food to eat, it was the international community that came together, and put together the efforts to come with a huge humanitarian response together with the medium to long-term needs.

And ADB has been doing its bit by providing $100 million grant assistance  from our ADF resources.

The grant was given as an extraordinary measure at an extraordinary speed. Within 8 weeks of the request of the government the grant was approved. 

And in the 10 months we have been able to deliver quite a range of facilities,  also to the affected people. For example, 200 community bathing facilities have already been provided, 2,000 street lights have been put up, 200 lightning arresters have been installed, 40 piped water supply has already been delivered, and we are working on giving now food distribution centers, cyclone shelters, and also preparing the storm water drainage systems.

We are also hoping that we will be able to have good better road access from Cox’s Bazar to the camp areas as well as beyond to Teknaf.

There are plans also to ease the congestion to the camp area so the communities who are living here or the UN agencies who are working here can bring supplies and relief material faster.

Today you can already see that the children are running around much more happy compared to a year when we came. The looks in the eyes of the people was absolutely blank, and they would be staring at their future.

Already I can already see people being more happy. I am hoping that if you come a year from now you will see the difference.

Together with partners like WFP, UNHCR,  IOM, WB and others  this has been a unique exercise for ADB as we have partnered with them, worked with them, learned with them. 

We are working on a food distribution center where we are working on the infrastructure and WFP is providing on the smart card system so people can get the food more quickly and more aptly.

Women living in the camp areas were not going out and taking a shower for a week or 10 days as they come from conservative backgrounds.

But today after we have given then 200 community bathing facilities all around the camp areas women are able to take shower and share with the community. Similarly we have provided lightning arresters.

The lightning arresters have been imported from Australia for around 100,000 taka which is about $1200  but they are going to save human lives and we are commissioning 200 of these lightning arresters across the camp areas.

The assistance of $100 million is all about people and these people once they get the facilities will have a much better living standard from what they had when they came here.

The bank is committed to work with our development partners and deliver the project in a sustained, livable manner.