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WFP: New EU fund to help ensure food assistance for Rohingya refugees

  • Published at 11:58 pm September 12th, 2019
File photo: Hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas attend a massive rally organized at a field in Camp No 4 (Extension) at Kutupalong's Modhurchhara in Ukhiya on Sunday, August 25, 2019, to observe two years of their latest exodus from Myanmar's Rakhine state Tanjir Rahman/Dhaka Tribune

'Through our collective efforts, we have saved many lives since the Rohingya crisis began over two years ago'

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of €2 million from the European Union (EU) for its emergency operations in Bangladesh, saying the funds will help sustain lifesaving food assistance to the Rohingya refugees during the monsoon.

“Two years on since the biggest influx of the Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh, the situation in the camps in Cox’s Bazar remains critical,” WFP Representative and Country Director in Bangladesh Richard Ragan said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“Among the nearly 1 million refugees, 80% of them rely entirely on WFP’s food assistance. This timely funding from the EU will help us support the most vulnerable children and women. Part of it will also go towards our disaster preparedness work in the camps.”

The new EU contribution will help WFP ensure that refugee needs are met during this challenging time, he said in the statement.

In 2018, the EU provided €12 million to help WFP respond to the urgent needs of the most vulnerable Rohingya refugees, playing a major role in enabling WFP’s continuing transition from in-kind food distribution to an electronic voucher system.

Half of all refugees now receive food assistance through e-vouchers and by early next year all refugees will receive food this way. With a prepaid WFP Assistance Card, families can now choose from a wide variety of nutritious food available at designated e-voucher shops in the camps, added the statement.

“Through our collective efforts, we have saved many lives since the Rohingya crisis began over two years ago,” said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

“The challenge however is far from over as hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas rely on humanitarian aid to survive. This latest contribution from the European Union is a testament to our continued commitment to help those in need, ensuring that they continue to receive life-saving food assistance from our partner WFP while being protected from the effects of the monsoons.”

The EU has been one of WFP’s key donors to Bangladesh, providing over €41 million since 2014. That continuous support has helped WFP provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict, natural hazards and climate change.