Summer Student Volunteers Wanted: Multidisciplinary HumTechLab for Rohingya crisis

News - 28 June 2018

One of the DIMI-support projects is the multidisciplinary Humanitarian Technology (or “HumTech”) Lab at TU Delft, that brings together students, researchers, and faculty members who contribute their expertise to design, develop, implement, and evaluate new technologies for humanitarian aid. An important project they currently work on now is help for the the Rohingya crisis.

As of early May 2018, over 900,000 Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh in response to armed attacks in Myanmar. During the massive crackdown on Rohingya people in Rakhine State in the northwestern region of Myanmar, the UN has found evidence of wide-scale human rights violations. The Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar is highly vulnerable, having fled conflict and experienced severe trauma, and now living in extremely difficult conditions. The unfolding humanitarian situation in Bangladesh is putting strain on the country’s already stressed resources. The country is prone to natural disasters ranging from earthquakes to floods and cyclones. The case of the Rohingya in South-Eastern Bangladesh is a prime exemplary for a dangerous combination of climate stresses and dynamic external shocks, where the response is operating in a country that is itself subject to extreme poverty and frequent disasters.
The speed and scale of the influx has resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency in and around Cox Bazar. The people who have arrived in Bangladesh since 25 August came with very few possessions. They have used most their savings on transportation and constructing a shelter, often out of no more than bamboo and thin plastic. They are now reliant on humanitarian assistance for food, and other life-saving needs. In some of the sites that have spontaneously emerged, water and sanitation facilities are limited or of poor quality, with extremely high density raising the risks of an outbreak of disease. With the approaching summer monsoon season, the crisis is anticipated only to intensify.
This situation shows that the traditional methods of resilience and infrastructure planning are insufficient. Rather, it requires that planning of the response is updated rapidly and frequently to newly emerging risks such as epidemic outbreaks, land- or mudslides that destroy critical transportation lines, flooded water and sanitation systems etc. We aim to set up a series of project that address different components of the response both at camp-level and at regional level, taking into account the stability and infrastructure of the region. In this way, we aim to develop models and tools that inform humanitarian organizations and policy-makers about the volatile conditions on the ground and enable a rapid update of their planning.

Overall, this project aims to ensure that the vulnerable populations receive aid while ensuring the resilience of the region as a whole.

HumTech Rohingya Activation: Students Wanted
• Work on independent research projects over the summer related to the Rohingya Crisis in Bangladesh
• Use your skills in modeling, simulation, programming, gaming, and beyond to add innovative research for a good cause
• Student research will be showcased in September, prizes and recognition awarded to excellent projects
• Attend the Kick Off event to meet staff members and sign up for a research topic!


More about the HumTech Lab

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