Friday, March 10, 2023

More Misery for the Rohingya

 Having had a devastating fire that destroyed shelters for 12,000, the UN recently cut food aid to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. 

There are about 1 million Rohingya living in squalid refugee camps in Cox's Bazar on the southeastern coast of Bangladesh.

The World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it would have to cut aid because of a $125 million (€117 million) shortfall. The UN organization said that, starting in March, monthly food vouchers would be reduced from $12 to $10 per person. It also warned that there would probably be more cuts if more funds did not come in imminently.  Bangladesh's refugee relief and repatriation commissioner, told DW that the government could not meet the budget gap and urged international donors to keep up their support.

Given that malnutrition, anemia and stunted growth are already rife in the camps, where 65% of the population are children and women, people who work with refugees fear that the cuts in rations could have a devastating impact.

Ambia Perveen, a co-founder of the Rohingya Medics Organisation, which provides medical care in the refugee camps, told DW that the cuts would affect every Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh.

"The food they were provided before was never enough, and now it will affect more, especially children, elderly people, pregnant women and above all the people with chronic diseases," she said. "There is huge malnutrition among children under five years old, severe cases of hepatitis C and anemic pregnant women." 

Rezaur Rahman Lenin, a Rohingya researcher based in Cox's Bazar, told DW that "Given that Myanmar's government won't let its people go home and that Rohingya refugees in camps are becoming more vulnerable, it is shocking that the UN is willing to cut these essential humanitarian funds." 

Bangladesh: Aid cuts stoke fear of violence in refugee camps – DW – 03/09/2023

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