WFP needs more funds for Rohingya refugees

WFP needs more funds for Rohingya refugees
Rohingya camp in Bangladesh. (Star file photo)
Dhaka, Oct 31 (IANS) | Publish Date: 10/31/2018 12:54:51 PM IST

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday said that it needs more funds to continue assisting the hundreds of thousands Rohingya refugees, who have been living in Bangladesh camps after fleeing an offensive by the Myanmar military last year.

The WFP said it had spent around $20 million to assist the refugees in Bangladesh following the crackdown in Myanmar in August 2017. “We are here to highlight the plight of families of Rohingyas so that governments around the world do not forget about their needs. The international community stepped up in a successful way... but pretty soon we will need more money,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley in a press conference. Beasley said the shortage of funds was owing to the fact that “in the last two years the number of civilian hungry people in the word rose from 80 million to 224 million, primarily driven by man-made conflict whether we talk about Syria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria or North East Nigeria”, Efe news reported.

The WFP usually imports emergency supplies from outside the country but in the case of Bangladesh, the agency has been trying to integrate into the local economy, said Beasley, adding that the WFP has been buying around $10 million worth of products monthly from Bangladesh. Beasley also said that the situation had improved in the refugee camps since his visit last year. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Bangladesh announced that it will begin to repatriate the Rohingyas to Myanmar around the middle of November. The announcement came nearly a year after both the countries signed a repatriation agreement in November 2017.

The Rohingya exodus had began after the Myanmar military launched the August offensive in Rakhine state following attacks on multiple government posts by Rohingya rebels.

The offensive was globally condemned for its rights abuses including loot, torture, rapes and torching of entire Rohingya villages. The UN called it “ethnic cleansing”.

Denmark to provide 

$4.6m more for Rohingyas

Meanwhile, according to Dailystar report, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tornaes on today announced additional funding of US$ 4.6 million to meet the urgent food needs of Rohingyas and host communities.

Ulla Tornaes said they are doing whatever they can to put pressure on the government of Myanmar to make sure that a political solution to the Rohingya crisis is found.

“I can assure you that from the Danish government side we’re putting all the pressures that we can do,” said the Danish Minister at a joint press conference in a city hotel mentioning that Denmark remains committed to standing by Bangladesh.

Earlier, the Danish Minister and Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley jointly visited Rohingya camps in Kutupalong-Balukhali of Cox’s Bazar district.

Denmark has allocated US$ 13 million to WFP’s efforts in relation to the crisis since August 2017.

The Danish Minister said her government remains committed to supporting those affected with both humanitarian and development assistance.

She stressed the need for further cooperation, dialogue and sustained efforts from the international community.

“It has been one year since I last visited these camps. I’m pleased to see positive changes. Indeed, the resilience demonstrated by the Rohingya community is evident to us all. I’m impressed with the results of the combined efforts of the international community and the government of Bangladesh,” the Danish Minister added.

There is of course much more needs to be done, Minister Ulla Tornaes further said, “Yet, I must express appreciation for the work the WFP is carrying out in support of 870,000 refugees with protection, food and shelter.”


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