Aid agencies in Bangladesh urge international community to step up support for the Rohingya refugee crisis, now in its fourth year
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (Tuesday 18 May 2021) – Aid agencies are making a united call on the international community to step up support to the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh, which has now entered its fourth year. The 2021 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis was launched today by the Government of Bangladesh, along with the humanitarian community. The JRP is seeking USD 943 million to meet the needs of over 880,000 Rohingya refugees and 472,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas in Cox’s Bazar district. In total, the JRP aims to protect and assist 1.4 Million people this year. More than half of this population are women and children. Some USD 340 million has been committed towards the 2021 JRP by the international community so far, amounting to more than 35 percent of the total requirements.
The JRP brings together the efforts of the Government of Bangladesh, and 134 UN agencies and NGO partners. More than half of these partners are Bangladeshi NGOs. The appeal focuses on strengthening the protection of Rohingya refugees, delivering quality lifesaving assistance to those in need, fostering the well-being of the communities surrounding the camps, and helping Rohingya refugees build their skills and capacities towards sustainable return and reintegration in Myanmar, on a voluntary basis, when conditions allow them to do so, in safety and in dignity.
The most commonly reported needs among the host communities include access to food as well as cash, along with essential health services, reflecting the impact of the COVID- 19 outbreak and associated measures needed to mitigate the spread of the virus on food security and livelihoods among the people of Bangladesh. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded vulnerabilities for them as well as Rohingya refugees. “We came to live in the camp after suffering a lot in Myanmar. But this place is very congested, and we need a lot of health support,” says 30-year old Hosne Ara, a Rohingya refugee living in one of the camps in Cox’s Bazar. “It is a great struggle to manage food, clothes, medicines, and essentials for my children” she adds.
“More than 40 per cent of this year’s financial appeal focuses on two of the most basic and critical human needs, food security and health,” says Nicole Epting, the Senior Coordinator for the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). “In addition, the priorities for this year include water, sanitation and hygiene, wider health needs including sexual and reproductive health with a focus on women and girls, education and addressing the protection concerns of the Rohingya refugee population in the camps.”.
The leadership of the Government of Bangladesh and the support of the international community over the years has been crucial in delivering lifesaving protection and assistance and effectively responding to the needs of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Up to USD 2.32 billion in funds have been committed to successive JRPs since the outset of the crisis in 2017. This amounts to 69% of total the financial requirements needed to protect and assist the Rohingya refugee population and host communities in the last four years.
Rohingya refugees have expressed their desire to return to Myanmar when conditions are conducive and safe to do so. Until they are able to return voluntarily, sustainably and under safe and dignified conditions, the humanitarian community is calling for a show of compassion and solidarity with the Rohingya refugee population and is urging the international community to continue supporting the Government and the people of Bangladesh.
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