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Oxfam-UNHCR launches new WASH project for Rohingyas, hosts

Published : Thursday, 25 February, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 1087

Oxfam-UNHCR has launched new project to provide sustainable WASH services to 65,430 host and Rohingya population in Cox's Bazar.
As the Rohingya crisis response approaching its 4th year in Bangladesh, Oxfam has launched a new inclusive WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) project that aims to sustain improved water supply, faecal sludge management (FSM), meaningful engagement and capacity building of communities focusing on sustainable operation and maintenance model of WASH technology in close collaboration with Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) in line with WASH sector 2021 priorities.  
Funded by the UNHCR, the project will work with government, UN systems and other actors to strengthen the water supply network and sanitation systems in the hilly terrain of Cox's Bazar.   
The project titled "Providing WASH Services in Rohingya Response - 2021" was launched today in Cox's Bazar in presence of government high officials, representatives from UNHCR, national and international NGOs and media.  
"Due to setting up of the Rohingya camps, huge deforestation has been taken place which is causing environmental degradation in Cox's Bazar. The development agencies working in the Rohingya camps should design all their interventions by respecting the environmental guidelines and principles", said Khalilur Rahman Khan, Additional Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, Government of Bangladesh. He also urged all the humanitarian actors, providing WASH support in Rohingya camps to minimize water-loss by ensuring efficient waste management.  
OXFAM has been working for humanitarian Assistance Programme for the Forcefully Displaced Myanmar Nationalities (FDMN) since September 2017 in collaboration with Bangladesh Government other humanitarian actors.  
"When Covid -19 spread in the camps of Cox's Bazar, Oxfam, UNHCR and DPHE invented and installed the first Contact-Less Hand Washing station to prevent spread of Covid-19. While hygiene practices have improved due to increased promotion of hand washing during the Covid -19 pandemic, our WASH project is now more relevant to ensure lasting behavioral change with regards to hygiene", said Dr Dipankar Datta, Country Director of Oxfam in Bangladesh.  
With support from UNHCR the Government of Bangladesh, OXFAM has been operating two water networks in one of the Rohingya Camps (camp-3) supplying in total 375,000 litre of chlorinated water to 15,000 population daily. It has designed, built and now operating the largest Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant (FSTP) ever built in any humanitarian setting in the world that covers 120,000 population treating 100,000 litre sludge (human waste) every day. Oxfam and UNHCR are building the second FSTP with larger capacity to cover 150,000 population and designing three large faecal sludge transfer pipe-network by 2021 and constructing organic composting plant in camp-4 with an aim to protect the environment in and around the camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf.   
Besides, UNHCR and OXFAM recently initiated the environmental sanitary effluents monitoring in 14 Rohingya camps to protect environment and public health from adverse impact of waste-water pollution through systematic surveillance and follow up actions in those camps and adjacent host community.  
The newly launched project will consolidate and handover repair and maintenance of handpumps, latrine and bathing cubicles in camp 3 and 4 and support local partners to take over water systems with ground water monitoring, water quality surveillance and sustainable operating systems in the Rohingya camps.  
Oxfam's involvement in Bangladesh has begun in 1970, supporting the cyclone victims and the people of Bangladesh during the Liberation War in 1971. Oxfam received Friends of the Bangladesh Liberation War Award from Bangladesh Government in 2012.

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