Rohingya funding way below mark

Though it is half way through the year, international donors have guaranteed only one-fourth of the $920 million donation they promised for Rohingya refugees and local communities in Cox's Bazar this year. As a result of this fund shortage, most of the three lakh local people who are in dire need of assistance for maintaining their livelihood are heading for an uncertain future.

The United Nations aid agencies and NGO partners, in the 2019 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis, appealed for raising $920 million to meet the massive need of more than 900,000 refugees from Myanmar and over 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in host communities. By the end of the current month, USD 225 million, only 25 percent of the required fund, has been ensured by the international community, that has hit food security, shelter, health and education of the around nine lakh Rohingya people and more than three lakh from the affected host community," said Shoikat Biswas, a spokesperson of Inter Sector Co-ordination Group, ISCG Inter Sector Co-ordination Group ISCG an umbrella of eight UN agencies, and around 150 govt. and non- govt. agencies working on Rohingya humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh.

If the fund crisis continues, food security can be mostly affected in the Rohingya camps, as well as in other sectors, it may create a major catastrophe," he feared. ISCG office source informed, for food security, $54.1m (21.3percent) of the $254.1m sought was funded. Of $128.8m for shelter, only $7.5m (5.8percent) has so far been collected. For health, $6m (6.8percent) of $88.7m has been provided. For nutrition, out of $48.1m, a paltry $2.2m, which is 4.6percent, has been made available, while for protection, $8m out of $38.9m has been collected.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said in Parliament that the security and stability of the country could be hampered if the Rohingya refugees cannot be repatriated soon. Due to the fund crisis now, the most critical pressure has been in the shelter and protection sector. Likewise, proportionately, affected host communities cannot be given the necessary assistance," said Mizanur Rahman, Additional Refugee, Relief and Repartition Commissioner RRRC (Add) in Cox's Bazar.

Medicines Sans Frontiers MSF a global health service provider for refugees source said, the lack of specialised healthcare for both refugee and host communities in Cox's Bazar remains a serious concern. There is inadequate provision of secondary healthcare, including good-quality 24-hour surgical capacity, comprehensive obstetric and neonatal care, pediatric services, and treatment for non-communicable diseases, including mental health and chronic illnesses.

Bangladesh has been suffering for decades with the Rohingyas from Myanmar, and the burden on Bangladesh is increasing gradually due to a non-cooperative attitude of Myanmar over the repatriation process. The cost is heavy for Bangladesh, as for years, the Rohingya people live as refugees and stateless persons in sprawling camps on the country's southern coast, and whose numbers have swelled to more than 1 million since violence across the border in 2017.

The new influx has tested the hospitality of the Bangladeshi government. Within the years, around 7000-acres of forest land in Cox's Bazar has become the world's most populous camps. Over one million people of host communities are now under threat of multiple hostilities from the Rohingyas they themselves had sheltered.

Mohammad Nikaruzzaman, Upazila Nirbahi Officer UNO of Ukhia in Cox's Bazar told Bangladesh Post," Against 2.58 lakh local residents of Ukhia upazila, around nine lakh Rohingya refugees are living there. There is so much damage to the environment that at least 15,000 families are required to be supplied LPG as fuel, but now only 3500 thousand families have been given this assistance."

"At present 24,000 families, out of 41,000 families are getting food assistance from Government, and 14 school buildings are under construction newly, but we proposed to the authority to reconstruct all the schools buildings," said Nikaruzzamn. "A crisis of basic needs in camps will lead the situation to a major catastrophe," he added. About 69 percent of the $950m appeal in JRP 2018 was met, while around 64percent of the $434m sought under JRP 2017 was provided.