The World Food Programme (WFP) said it has been forced to cut food rations for Rohingya refugees by 17% and has warned of “unconscionable” further cuts in April as a result of dwindling international donations. It needs $125m (£104m) urgently to avoid further cuts.
UN officials Tom Andrews and Michael Fakhri explained in a statement, “If these cuts are made, they will be imposed on vulnerable people who are already food insecure. Acute malnutrition levels remain high and chronic malnutrition is pervasive among the Rohingya refugee population in Bangladesh, with more than a third of children stunted and underweight.”
Close to a million Rohingya live in the world’s largest refugee settlement in Bangladesh and are almost completely reliant on food aid as they are not allowed to work or freely travel beyond the camps. Rohingya refugees say the food they receive is already very limited, forcing them to survive on staples such as rice and lentils, which do not provide all the nutrition they need.
Mohammed Zonaid, a Rohingya youth activist, said that the international community’s failure to provide a solution for his people has left them dependent on food aid, as they are unable to return to Myanmar.
“If they were to cut off this support, we would face immense difficulties that are beyond imagination. I implore the global community to step forward and support us in finding a permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis, and to continue providing us with the food assistance that we need until we are able to stand on our own feet.”