ASHAR Alo Project (Action for Supporting the Host Communities: Adaptation and Resilience)
Publication Date: 01/09/2021
ASHAR Alo (Action for Supporting the Host Communities: Adaptation and Resilience), meaning ‘Light of Hope’ in Bangla.
The project activities are focused on Jaliyapalong, Haldiapalang,Ratna Palong, PalongKhali union of Ukhiya Upzila and Dakshin Mithachari and Chakmarkul union of Ramu Upazila. CARE aims to strengthen host communities' resilience by enhancing community-based disaster risk reduction (DRR), upgrading infrastructure, and providing livelihoods opportunities across shelter, settlement, and WASH sectors. The project also responds to the urgent protection and gender-based violence needs in the host community. Activities are being undertaken in collaboration with government and community stakeholders and UN and NGO actors.
Cox’s Bazar is amongst the poorest districts of Bangladesh. In Ukhia, 33% of people live below the poverty line, and 17% below extreme poverty. This is linked to the region's poor land quality and high risk of natural disaster. Since the Myanmar refugee influx in the fall of 2017, over 902,984 refugees or 201,150 households (HH)s have settled in Ukhiya, and Teknaf.1 Despite limited resources, the local host community population welcomed the arriving refugees during the fall of 2017, sharing food, shelter, and supplies. However, the refugees’ extended presence has strained the community’s already scarce resources. Within the sub-region, Ukhia and Teknaf have been particularly affected, with 336,000 residents directly impacted by the refugee influx,2 leading to a deterioration of relations between these host community members and the refugees.
The region is highly prone to natural disasters; it experiences regular cyclones, floods, and landslides with triple global average precipitation3. Both individual homes and community shelters are weak and in disrepair. Over 40% of households do not meet Sphere standards; they are overcrowded, fragile and highly susceptible to damage and destruction by strong winds, rain, and flooding4. Land degradation, including the daily removal of over 700 metric tons of firewood from the area, has led to a loss of topsoil, coupled with the heightened risk of flash flooding, which has increased the potential destruction5. The accumulation of improperly disposed waste and poor pre-existing drainage systems aggravate these risks and increase the likelihood of damage to host communities6. Furthermore, community response plans and structures are ill-equipped to safeguard or offer substantive protection. [19 pages]