Tracking the Relocation of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

A Nighttime Lighting Approach

Published in: Tearline website (2022)

Posted on RAND.org on January 14, 2022

by Eric Robinson, Maggie Habib, Sean Mann, Edmund J. Burke

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This report uses nighttime lighting data to track the relocation of Rohingya refugees from the Cox's Bazaar region of Bangladesh to Bhasan Char, a 'floating island' in the Bay of Bengal built by the Government of Bangladesh to house roughly 100,000 refugees. Constructed on reclaimed land in a monsoon, cyclone, and tsunami-prone region, Bhasan Char poses not only humanitarian challenges, but physical and human rights challenges as the Rohingya become isolated from the mainland.

This report demonstrates how nighttime lighting data serves as a useful independent measure of the Government of Bangladesh's efforts to relocate Rohingya refugees onto the island over time, which could prove beneficial to those involved in humanitarian and disaster resilience and response planning over the coming months and years.

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