Bangladesh, int’l partners seek $876m for Rohingyas

Bangladesh and its international partners yesterday launched the annual Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis, calling for $876 million to reach 1.47 million people.

The plan launched in Geneva under the leadership of Bangladesh authorities brings together 116 partners, nearly half of which are national organisations from Bangladesh.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam led the Bangladesh delegation at the UN event.

The plan aims to help 978,000 Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char, and 495,000 Bangladeshis in neighbouring communities, with food, shelter, health care, drinking water, education, livelihood opportunities and skills development.

The UN Refugee Agency and partners called on the international community to redouble efforts for sustained support for the Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi host communities.

In a statement, UNHCR said, "They [the Rohingyas] are desperate to return to their homes in Myanmar, which are currently out of reach, and instead live in extremely overcrowded, and sometimes dangerous conditions in refugee camps, relying almost entirely on humanitarian assistance for their survival."

Women and children, who make up more than 75 percent of the targeted refugee population, face higher risks of abuse, exploitation, and gender-based violence, it added.

Since the onset of this humanitarian crisis in 2017, the Bangladesh government and local communities, with aid agencies, have been quick to respond to arriving refugees in what remains the world's largest refugee camp, it said.

"However, as global displacement continues to rise, so does the risk that the needs of Rohingya refugees and surrounding host communities will be forgotten."

With decreased funding, refugees stand to face even more challenges in their daily lives, the UNHCR said.

The lack of funds has already forced the World Food Programme to cut its lifesaving food assistance to all Rohingya living in the camps; despite concerted humanitarian efforts, 45 percent of Rohingya families are not eating a sufficiently healthy diet, and malnutrition is widespread.

"These ration cuts are likely to result in higher malnutrition rates, deteriorating health, school dropouts, increased incidents of child marriage, child labour and gender-based violence."

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