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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

WFP food rations for each Rohingya increased to $10

  • Will be in effect from January 
  • USAID BHA provides $87m in funding
  • Acute funding shortages forced WFP to cut food assistance

 

Update : 14 Dec 2023, 01:00 PM

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will increase food rations for each Rohingya refugee in Cox’s Bazar from $8 to $10 starting in January. 

“Amid a difficult year, when multiple crises broke out and required donor attention, the United States, along with many of our donors, came forward with generous contributions for the Rohingya refugee population,” said Dom Scalpelli, WFP country director in Bangladesh. 

“With the funding received so far, we will be able to increase the food entitlement from the current $8 to $10, starting January 2024. We are very pleased with this positive development and hope donors will continue to fund us to ensure the Rohingya’s basic needs are met,” said the WFP official. 

The WFP on Thursday welcomed a new contribution of $87 million from the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), reads a press release. 

Reed Aeschliman (left), USAID Mission Director and Dom Scalpelli, WFP Country Director, during their joint visit to the Rohingya camps in Cox`s Bazar on Wednesday, December 13, 2023. Photo: WFP/Saikat Mojumder

This timely funding will significantly bolster WFP’s efforts in providing lifesaving assistance to the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and on Bhasan Char Island, where nearly one million people are facing daily hardships, without an immediate prospect of a safe return to Myanmar. 

“As we have seen in the camps, the situation remains concerning for the Rohingya, who have lived through crisis after crisis. While the United States has led the way in total assistance, we recognize this has been an especially challenging year for the refugees. We can’t afford to neglect the needs of Rohingya, or the generous host communities in Bangladesh. This requires continued support from government, donors and development partners,” said Reed Aeschliman, USAID mission director in Bangladesh, during his visit to Cox’s Bazar camps on Wednesday. 

Now the seventh year into the crisis, the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh remain in an extremely precarious situation with limited freedom of movement, lack of job opportunities and increasing security threats, says the release.

The camps are also prone to hazards, including climate-related disasters such as cyclones and flooding.

Acute funding shortages forced WFP to cut its food assistance for the entire Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar camps, reducing the entitlement from $12 per person per month to $10 in March, then again to $8 in June. 

Since the ration cut, the food security situation in the camps has worsened rapidly. 

WFP’s latest monitoring in November revealed that 90% of the refugee population in Cox’s Bazar did not have adequate food consumption, up from 79% in June. 

Families had to rely on less expensive but less nutritious food, while parents were eating less or skipping meals to feed their children.

The nutrition status among children is also deteriorating. Compared to a year ago, in September, analyses showed that more children – an additional nearly 1,000 of them – were being admitted into treatment programs for both severe and moderate acute malnutrition.

The BHA funding will be used to provide food assistance to the Rohingya, as well as towards WFP’s work in nutrition, resilience-building and disaster risk reduction in both Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char.

Furthermore, nearly 8,000 children and 4,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women in the host community in Cox’s Bazar will be supported through WFP’s nutrition programs.

WFP also plans to introduce fortified rice to its food basket in Cox's Bazar in the new year and needs another $79 million to restore the full ration, which is now $12.5 per person per month with fortified rice added. 

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