Bangladesh is now home to nearly 1.1 million Rohingya refugees
The UN refugee agency has called for renewed international commitment and support for the Rohingyas in Bangladesh with a new $943 million response plan.
The UNHCR is set to launch its 2021 Joint Response Plan on Tuesday (May 18) at a donor conference, its spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said at a media call in Geneva on Friday, according to a statement.
The 2021 JRP brings together the efforts of the government of Bangladesh, and 134 UN agencies and NGO partners to target almost 1.4 million people, it said.
The $943 million plan seeks to meet the needs of more than 880,000 Rohingya refugees and 472,000 Bangladeshis in the surrounding host communities in Cox's Bazar district. Most Rohingya refugees, some 740,000, fled violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State in 2017.
"With the refugee crisis in its fourth year, Bangladesh needs robust and sustained international support to ensure the safety and wellbeing of stateless Rohingya refugees. This must not become a forgotten crisis. Both Rohingya refugees and Bangladesh, having generously hosted them for decades, must see the world standing with them," the statement quoted Mahecic.
The pandemic has compounded vulnerabilities for refugees and host communities alike, the UNHCR said before adding that the Bangladesh government, with the support of the humanitarian community, has effectively managed the Covid-19 response and the spread of the disease in the Rohingya camps and surrounding areas.
A coordinated and inclusive response has saved lives. However, it is critical to ensure the continued delivery of all humanitarian assistance and protection services, it said.
"The needs of Rohingya refugees reach beyond subsistence and physical safety. Refugees, like any other people, cannot be allowed to wait for years without access to education and options for a decent life and a meaningful future. In order to mitigate the risks of people taking dangerous onward journeys, more must be done to ensure that refugees have hope in Bangladesh, and of a future back home in Myanmar. Otherwise, they may increasingly risk such journeys by land or sea to find a solution elsewhere," the statement reads.
Last year, the United Nations appealed for more than $1 billion to meet the needs of the Rohingya refugees and host communities in Cox's Bazar district. At the end of 2020, this appeal was 59.4% funded.