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IOM warns of funding shortfall for Rohingya refugees

  • Published at 07:48 pm June 6th, 2018
File photo of a Rohingya camp in Cox's BazarSyed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

IOM vital services at serious risk unless more financial support is forthcoming, include water, sanitation, and hygiene activities

International Organization for Migration (IOM) warned on Tuesday it could not continue helping Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh without “urgent funding.”

The UN's migration agency said its resources were being outstripped by the needs of 700,000 Rohingya refugees now in Bangladesh, having fled their homes in Myanmar. It said, without new funding, the lives of tens of thousands of people flooding the camps will be at risk.

“Conducting 400,000 curative consultations in nine months is an immense achievement that shows the crucial role of IOM medical facilities for the refugee and local communities. But without urgent funding we won’t be able to carry on,” said IOM’s Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar, Manuel Periera. 

“If that happens, hundreds of thousands of cases will likely be left untreated in the months ahead and we face the grim possibility of many avoidable deaths,” he added. 

IOM is one of the largest medical care providers in Cox’s Bazar, supporting patients from the refugee and local communities with medical concerns ranging from pregnancy related complications to road accident injuries. In the past four months alone, IOM has carried out over 4,300 consultations involving accidents and injuries.

Without urgent financial backing, the services will soon come to a halt. And with months of monsoon rains about to create even more health hazards for the refugee population, medical staff are ready to see an even bigger demand for their services.

Cox’s Bazar district Civil Surgeon, Dr Mohammad Abdus Salam, said, “IOM is doing massive job in addressing the health issues of refugees and host communities. We highly appreciate their contribution in assisting the government to address the health crisis that affected the district following the August influx.” 

“IOM has established hospitals and community clinics both for the refugee and host communities. They’ve strengthened the government health complexes as well. Without IOM’s support, we wouldn’t be so successful in addressing the influx induced health crisis in Cox’s Bazar,” he added.

Other IOM vital services at serious risk unless more financial support is forthcoming, include water, sanitation, and hygiene activities.

IOM, which has appealed for $182 million to provide aid in Cox's Bazar through December 2018, said it is currently facing a funding shortfall of almost $151 million.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings - including those of infants and young children - brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar’s security personnel.

Since August 25, some 700,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may constitute crimes against humanity.