• Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019
  • Last Update : 06:23 pm

Rohingya crisis: Funding remains great challenge

  • Published at 01:00 am August 26th, 2019
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Dhaka Tribune

Only 36% met of required $920m for 2019

Two years after the latest influx of Rohingyas that began on August 25, 2017, due to an unprecedented brutal military crackdown by Myanmar, funding to look after the persecuted people sheltering in Cox’s Bazar, remains a great challenge.

Three quarters of the year has already elapsed with only 35% of the required $920 million having been made available.

Some key sectors like health, protection, nutrition, and site management, remain severely underfunded, putting the lives of the Rohingyas in jeopardy. 

The Joint Response Plan (JPR) for 2019 was launched in Geneva on February 15, seeking $920.5 million to cover expenses for the period between January and December. 

About 69% of the $950 million sought in JRP 2018 was met, while around 64% of the $434 million sought under JRP 2017 was provided.

According to the financial tracking system of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), only $330 million of the appeal for $920.5 million, which is less than 36%, has so far been met. 

With only about three months left of the year and $590 million remaining unmet so far, it's certain that funding like it was in previous years, will not be possible.

For food security, only $86.9 million (34.2%) of the $254.1 million sought, was funded. Of $128.8m for shelter, only $15.6m (12.1%) has so far been collected. For health, $13.1m (14.7.8%) of $88.7m has been provided. For nutrition, out of $48.1m, only $13.8m, which is 14.8%, has been made available, while for protection, $9.7m out of $38.9m has been collected. For shelter, $128m was asked, of which 12.1% ($15.6m) was met, and for site management, $24.4m (24.7%) of $98.7m has so far been made available.

The funding scenario with regard to other sectors like child protection, communication with communities, coordination, education, emergency telecommunication, gender-based violence, and logistics, is more or less the same.

Not a single sector has been able to get more than 36.4% funding, roughly a third of the funding promised.

One sector, emergency telecom, has not yet received a single cent this year.

Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, officials of the government and international organisations have expressed their frustration with the flow of incoming money.  They placed great emphasis on the timely availability of funds for the smooth operation of their work.

ISCG highlights necessity of timely funding

The Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (RRRC) and the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), comprising United Nations agencies and NGOs, issued a joint press release on Sunday.  The press release, remembering the latest exodus of Rohingyas two years ago, highlighted the necessity of a timely availability of funding to look after the Rohingyas in the settlements. 

“Although notable progress has been made on a number of fronts, the Rohingya refugees remain fully dependent on humanitarian assistance in terms of shelter, food, health services, water and sanitation, and the response is critically underfunded,” said the release, quoting ISCG senior coordinator Nicole Epting.

“Although ISCG partners have responded well to the impact of heavy rains and strong winds in the camps, $7.8 million is still urgently needed from the international community to replenish stocks, improve communications infrastructure, repair monsoon-related damage, and increase the capacity of mobile response teams for the rest of the monsoon season,” she said, adding: “The monsoon season will be immediately followed by the autumn cyclone season, thus continuous repairs and stock replenishment will be critical to ensure preparedness.“

According to the release, two years ago, the world witnessed one of the largest forced displacements of recent times. In a few weeks, close to half a million Rohingya women, girls, boys, and men, were forced from their homes in Rakhine State, Myanmar, to seek safety in Bangladesh. Horrific violence was perpetrated on a massive scale against a vulnerable population, who for generations endured persecution and denial of their basic human rights. Every day, these survivors demonstrate the resilience of the Rohingya people.

"We're also not happy with the funding flow. We always encourage our donors to provide funds in due time. But, this crisis is contesting with many crises across the globe and the money is not unlimited," an official of a UN organ told this correspondent.

"We hope the donors will open their purses more generously," he added.

The government of Bangladesh and the people of Cox’s Bazar district have set a global example in welcoming nearly one million forcibly displaced Rohingya, 80% of them women and children, living for the last two years or more in the world’s largest and most densely populated refugee camp, among other settlements.

The Rohingya community, together with the people and the government of Bangladesh, and the ISCG partners, mark two years since the beginning of the Rohingya crisis, to remind the world of this continuing humanitarian tragedy and to reflect on how far the response has come to date.

“The Rohingyas endure a perilous existence in the congested camps, and like their Bangladeshi neighbours, face recurrent threats of natural disasters and extreme weather like cyclones and monsoon rains, that has resulted in slope failures, flash flooding, winds, and waterlogging,” said RRRC chief, Mohammad Abul Kalam.