UN in Bangladesh appeals for immediate funding as Rohingya refugees face new cuts in food aid
01 June 2023
As of today, 1 June, the monthly food vouchers that Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar receive are reduced for the second time in three months - a 33% reduction in the daily ration. With the food voucher valued at as little as USD 8 (BDT 840) per person per month – that’s less than 10 cents per meal – the refugees face grim choices to make ends meet. Parents are already eating less and skipping meals so that their children can eat. The rations cuts affect approximately 1 million refugees who remain dependent on aid with no possibility of employment to sustain their livelihood.
At the beginning of the year, refugees were receiving a ration from the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) of USD 12 per person per month, just enough to meet their daily needs, however on 1 March due to lack of funding, the ration was reduced to USD 10. Now the ration will only have a value of USD 8 per person.
“We are extremely concerned that WFP has been forced to cut food aid for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh - the nutrition and health consequences will be devastating, particularly for women and children and the most vulnerable in the community. We urgently appeal for international support. Only 24.6 percent of the Rohingya response is funded to provide basic health services, nutrition, food, and education for refugees who do not have any other source of support. People living in Rohingya camps are barred from working and they are completely dependent on international community funding,” said the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Gwyn Lewis, commenting on the cuts in food aid.
These new cuts in lifesaving assistance come at a time when Rohingya refugees are recovering from the devastating impacts of Cyclone Mocha and the widespread fire that hit the refugee camps this year, leaving thousands of refugees in desperate need of help.
Rohingya refugees are particularly vulnerable this year because the 2023 Appeal seeking USD 876 million dollars is only 24.6% funded as of 1 June resulting in other critical programmes and activities are also being cut.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
On 23 May, The United Nations and its partners in Bangladesh appealed for USD 42.1 million for the Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi communities in Cox’s Bazar who are facing the devastating impact of Cyclone Mocha. The cyclone severely affected all 33 refugee camps and surrounding Bangladeshi villages.