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Rohingya crisis: Donors seem non-responsive to fund appeal

  • Published at 02:05 am September 12th, 2019
WEB_Syed-Zakir-Hossain-(66)
File photo of a Rohingya Camp Syed Zakir Hossain/ Dhaka Tribune

Less than 38% of the 2019 requirement, amounting to $920m, have been met in eight months

Donors appear to be non-responsive to the repeated appeals made by the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), comprising United Nations agencies and NGOs, to provide more fund to properly look after more than a million Rohingyas currently sheltered in Cox’s Bazar.

Failure to acquire fund properly and timely will affect essential services, jeopardizing the lives of the displaced people, officials of the government and international organizations including UN agencies told Dhaka Tribune.

They further said funding is urgently necessary right now to deal with the remainder of the monsoon season in the Rohingya camps.

With only three and a half months left, only 37.8% of the appealed $920 million, under the joint response plan (JRP) for 2019, has so far been made available, according to the financial tracking system of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Key sectors like shelter, health, protection, nutrition and site management remain severely underfunded.

“I know the percentage will increase in the later part of the year. Yet, at this stage it seems that the donors are not responding as the situation demands, which is worrying,” a top government official told this correspondent.

“From the outset of the latest exodus that began on August 25, 2017, we have constantly been assured by the international community of being provided with necessary funding to look after the Rohingyas,” he said.

An official of a UN organ said: “We are facing a real problem here that involves life and death. The response to the JRP has not been encouraging so far.

“The fund has become even more necessary as the Rohingya settlements are being battered by the monsoon,” he added. “We continue staying in touch with the donors and urge them to make the pledged amount available.”

Meanwhile, a joint press release by the ISCG, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and World Food Programme (WFP), issued yesterday, made yet another appeal for urgent funding against the backdrop of devastation caused by monsoon in last few days.

“Funding is still urgently needed to sustain preparedness and response for the remainder of the monsoon season, replenish stocks, improve communications infrastructure, repair monsoon-related damage, and increase the capacity of mobile response teams,” said ISCG Senior Coordinator Nicole Epting.

“Only 38% of the response is funded, compromising essential services and the health and well-being of both the Rohingya and host community population,” she said.

On August 25 this year, the refugee, relief and repatriation commissioner in Cox’s Bazar and the ISCG made a joint appeal for urgent funding.

But between August 25 and September 11, there has been only 2% increase in the funds.

While no injuries have been reported in the camps, the past 48 hours have seen 15 landslides, 25 wind/rainstorms, and five flooding incidents, causing temporary displacement of 14,801 individuals from 4,543 households, partial damage to 427 shelters and complete destruction of 66 shelters, said the joint release. 

In Teknaf, two Bangladeshi children have reportedly been killed and 10 people injured in a landslide.

“The rain and wind are endangering lives and causing hardship on the ground, and our teams are working around the clock to provide emergency services, repairs and relocations. While we are responding to the immediate effects of the rains, we remain focused on long-term disaster management and risk mitigation," IOM Bangladesh Deputy Chief of Mission Manuel Pereira said in the statement.