UNHCR’s Grandi deeply concerned over pandemic, its impact
United Nations agencies and other humanitarian organizations working in Cox's Bazar are appealing for more international support in order to step up services for both the Rohingya and local communities to mitigate the risk of coronavirus.
The Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) is encouraging support to partners, which are scaling up to respond to Covid-19 in Cox’s Bazar, through an initial appeal that will be released in the coming week.
The Cox’s Bazar response strategy is aligned to the Bangladesh Country Preparedness and Response Plan ($300 million) - prepared jointly by the UN in Bangladesh, government counterparts, civil society partners and other actors in support of the national response to Covid-19.
The Cox’s Bazar strategy will present a separate appeal amount which will be confirmed shortly, as well as sustaining core support to the 2020 joint response plan for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis.
Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has expressed deep concern at the Covid-19 pandemic and detailed a series of measures to help respond to public health emergencies and prevent the further spread of the virus.
“I am deeply concerned at this unprecedented pandemic and its impact on refugees and their host communities," he said.
“Our top priority in the Covid-19 crisis is to ensure that the people we serve are included in response plans and are properly informed, while we supplement Governments’ preparedness and response efforts wherever needed,’’ he said.
On 26 March, the UNHCR called for $255 million as part of a wider UN appeal, to focus on priority countries that will require specific action.
On March 25 the UN Secretary General launched an appeal, the Global Humanitarian Plan, for $2 billion to fight Covid-19 in the world’s most vulnerable countries.
Regarding Bangladesh, Grandi said: "Training has started for staff working in health facilities serving the Rohingya camps, where some 850,000 refugees live in very dense conditions."
“More than 2,000 refugee volunteers are working with community and religious leaders to communicate important prevention measures,” he said.
"Support for the creation of new isolation and treatment facilities for refugees and the surrounding host community is also ongoing," he added.