Donor fatigue will deepen the Rohingya crisis
We are shocked at the continuous decline in funding for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. According to the latest report of the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), Bangladesh sought USD 875.9 million from international donors this year, but received only USD 224.3 million in the first six months. With the dwindling aid, it will be extremely difficult to meet the refugees' basic needs, let alone other secondary needs. Experts have already warned that the Rohingya may have to face food insecurity and malnutrition if the international community does not come up with adequate funding.
Since 2017, under a Joint Response Plan (JRP), the international community has been providing financial assistance to the Rohingya refugees living mostly in camps in Cox's Bazar. But unfortunately, the allocation has been steadily declining. In fact, Bangladesh has never received the promised/required funds in their entirety. Reportedly, the fund for humanitarian assistance ranged between 72 and 75 percent of the total requirement in the first three years since 2017. It came down significantly in the following years. And this year, with only 26 percent of the promised aid received, the situation is quite dire.
The question is, how will a country like Bangladesh feed over a million extra people and meet their other pressing needs without adequate funding from the international community? The UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Kelly T. Clements has already expressed his concern about the declining funds, saying even the basic needs of the Rohingya remain unfulfilled. If the situation does not change for the better, it may force many among the refugees to seek to leave camps and engage in criminal activities, raising serious security concerns for local authorities.
Bangladesh has been quite generous as a host so far. However, amid its current economic crisis, it will not be possible for us to bear this burden if the world does not come forward with sustained and adequate humanitarian assistance. We, therefore, urge donors to keep providing the necessary funds for the Rohingya until their safe and dignified repatriation to their homeland.