CERF allocates $8 million to the Rohingya refugee response in Bangladesh

CERF allocates $8 million to the Rohingya refugee response in Bangladesh

©️ ISCG, Saikat Mojumder

The United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated $8 million to provide support to almost a million Rohingya refugees staying in camps in Cox’s Bazar district and on the island of Bhasan Char. The funding allocation to Bangladesh is a part of the CERF initiative to support underfunded humanitarian operations in 14 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East.

Commenting on the allocation, the UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, said: “It is a cruel reality that in many humanitarian operations, aid agencies are scraping along with very little funding right at a time when people’s needs compel them to scale up. Thanks to the generosity of a vast range of donors, we can count on CERF to fill some of the gaps. Lives are saved as a result. But we need individual donors to step up as well – this is a fund by all and for all.”

In Bangladesh, under the leadership of the country’s UN Resident Coordinator and in consultation with the government of Bangladesh and local NGOs, the funding allocation will support priority programmes for refugees and host communities, who do not have any other source of support. Humanitarian agencies have appealed for $876 million this year to assist around 1.47 million people, including Rohingya refugees and local Bangladeshis. However, as of 6 September, funds for the Joint Response Plan only reached 30.6 per cent of this appeal.

“The UN in Bangladesh welcomes the decision of the Emergency Relief Coordinator to provide funding to the severely underfunded Rohingya Response to support refugees and the host community. This allocation is especially important in light of the funding shortfall in the humanitarian support for the Rohingya refugee response. The refugees remain entirely dependent on international community funding and are in need of help,” said the UN Resident Coordinator, Gwyn Lewis.

The CERF allocation announced today will also help scale up humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan and Yemen ($20 million each), Burkina Faso ($9 million), Mali ($8 million), Myanmar ($9 million), Haiti ($8 million), Venezuela ($8 million), the Central African Republic ($6.5 million), Mozambique ($6.5 million), Cameroon ($6 million), the Occupied Palestinian Territories ($6 million), and Malawi ($4 million).

In addition to Bangladesh, the allocation will also support refugee operations in Uganda ($6 million).

UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh calls for urgent support following Cyclone Mocha

UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh calls for urgent support following Cyclone Mocha

Cyclone Mocha Flash Appeal for Bangladesh issued today seeks USD 42.1 million to support 536,000 Rohingya refugees and 243,000 Bangladeshis.

Caption: Devastated mother witnesses her shelter demolished in the aftermath of Cyclone Mocha, Teknaf, 14th May ©️UNDP/Imran Roky

Caption: Devastated mother witnesses her shelter demolished in the aftermath of Cyclone Mocha, Teknaf, 14th May ©️UNDP/Imran Roky

The United Nations and its partners in Bangladesh appealed for USD 42.1 million today 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, leaving thousands desperately in need. 

The urgent appeal includes USD 36.5 million under the Rohingya Refugee Response to benefit refugees and Bangladeshi communities. Additionally, the UN and its partners seek USD 5.6 million exclusively for Bangladeshi families in Teknaf. The appeal focuses on the urgent needs to replenish contingency stocks, prepare ahead of the monsoon season, and use weather and fire-resistant materials for shelters and facilities that are critical in saving lives.

Cyclone Mocha struck the Bangladesh-Myanmar border on 14 May, bringing heavy rains and strong winds. Hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis and Rohingya were impacted by the cyclone. Shelters built of bamboo and tarpaulin were damaged and destroyed. Many more lost access to clean drinking water and other water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. Key facilities for education, nutrition, protection, and more were damaged or destroyed.

“The cyclone has taken a huge toll on Bangladeshi and refugee communities, even if we missed the eye of the storm,” said Gwyn Lewis, the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh.  “What we need to do is to build back better with weather and fire-resistant materials. Many refugees lost their homes in March due to devastating fires and had just begun rebuilding their lives. They are now rebuilding their shelters once again following the cyclone and are bracing for the monsoons that are around the corner.”

Rohingya refugees are particularly vulnerable this year because the 2023 Appeal seeking USD 876 million dollars is only 17% funded as of mid-May. Funding shortfalls, resulting in two ration cuts in March and imminently in June 2023, will decrease food assistance by 33.3%. Other critical programmes and activities are also being cut. 

“Refugees are not allowed to work and are completely reliant on the international community.” said Lewis, “We desperately need USD 56 million to restore the full food rations of refugees. Now we also need additional support to rebuild the camps after the cyclone and prepare for the monsoons.”

The Resident Coordinator acknowledged the Government’s leadership in implementing its sophisticated disaster preparedness and response systems that has saved countless lives in the past years and during Cyclone Mocha.

In Myanmar, the humanitarian community also launched today a USD 333 million Flash Appeal to assist 1.6 million people affected by Cyclone Mocha.

Media Contacts:

In Dhaka: Igor Sazonov, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, [email protected], +8801321169633

In Cox’s Bazar: Syed Md Tafhim, Inter Sector Coordination Group, [email protected], +8801850018235 and Faik Uyanık, Inter Sector Coordination Group, [email protected], +8801847421667

For more information please visit  rohingyaresponse.org/mocha  

UNHCR, partners seek $876m for Rohingya refugees facing ‘chilling fog of uncertainty’ and for Bangladeshi hosts

UNHCR, partners seek $876m for Rohingya refugees facing ‘chilling fog of uncertainty’ and for Bangladeshi hosts

This is a summary of what was said by Johannes van der Klaauw, UNHCR Representative in Dhaka, Bangladesh – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Bangladesh. Bamboo forestry holds promise for Rohingya campsCaption: More funding is needed for skills training and livelihood projects like one that is supporting refugees and host communities to grow bamboo for building and stabilizing hillsides. © UNHCR/Kamrul Hasan

GENEVA, 7 March 2023 – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and partners are calling on the international community to redouble efforts for sustained financial support and solutions for Rohingya refugees and the Bangladeshi communities that are hosting them as the dire situation enters its sixth year.

Under the leadership of the Bangladeshi authorities, the 2023 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis calls for $876 million to reach 1.47 million people. The Joint Response Plan brings together 116 partners, nearly half of them national organizations from Bangladesh.

The Plan, which was launched today, aims to help some 978,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and on the island of Bhasan Char, and 495,000 Bangladeshis in neighbouring communities, with food, shelter, health care, access to drinkable water, protection services, education, as well as livelihood opportunities and skills development.

Every day, the nearly one million Rohingya women, children and men that fled from violence and persecution in Myanmar for Bangladesh wake up in a chilling fog of uncertainty about their futures. They are desperate to return to their homes in Myanmar, which are currently out of reach, and instead live in extremely overcrowded, and sometimes dangerous conditions in refugee camps, relying almost entirely on humanitarian assistance for their survival.

While the situation has become protracted, the needs of refugees remain urgent. Women and children, who make up more than 75 per cent of the targeted refugee population, face higher risks of abuse, exploitation, and gender-based violence. More than half of the refugees in the camps are under 18, their futures on hold.

Since the onset of this humanitarian crisis in 2017, the Government of Bangladesh and local communities, with aid agencies, have been quick to respond to arriving refugees in what remains the world’s largest refugee camp. However, as global displacement continues to rise, so does the risk that the needs of Rohingya refugees and surrounding host communities will be forgotten.

With decreased funding, refugees stand to face even more challenges in their daily lives in terms of proper nutrition, shelter materials, sanitation facilities and livelihood opportunities.

The lack of funds has already forced the World Food Programme to cut its lifesaving food assistance to all Rohingya living in the camps; despite concerted humanitarian efforts, 45 per cent of Rohingya families are not eating a sufficiently healthy diet and malnutrition is widespread. These ration cuts are likely to result in higher malnutrition rates, deteriorating health, school dropouts, increased incidents of child marriage, child labour and gender-based violence.

It is therefore vital to ensure continued funding and support to be able to deliver life-saving and life-sustaining assistance to the camp population while also investing in education, skills training and livelihood opportunities, allowing refugees to partially fulfil their basic needs with their own means. The relocation of some 30,000 Rohingya to the island of Bhasan Char needs to be complemented by significant investment in communal livelihood initiatives as a prerequisite for the viability and sustainability of the project.

The combination of prolonged displacement and deteriorating camp conditions has prompted an increasing number of refugees to resort to dangerous boat journeys to seek a better future. Last year alone, more than 3,500 Rohingya attempted high-risk boat journeys across the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. Sadly, 10 per cent lost their lives or went missing.

The solutions to the Rohingya crisis ultimately lie within Myanmar. Many Rohingya refugees continue to express their desire to return home when conditions allow, yet currently there is no prospect for a safe, dignified and sustainable return in the immediate future. Hence, steadfast support from the international community remains crucial to support efforts by Myanmar to develop conditions conducive for return and to uphold the Rohingya right to return, while also supporting delivery of life-saving assistance and effective protection to refugees in the camps until they can return, with their rights ensured.

Given its geography, annual cycles of heavy monsoon rains and cyclones pose substantial risks to refugees in camps and host communities. Among the objectives of the Joint Response Plan, in coordination with the Government of Bangladesh, will be to strengthen disaster risk management and combat the effects of climate change through reforestation and promoting the use of renewable and cleaner energy sources. The provision of cooking gas, which has significantly eased pressure on the environment, requires significant funding.

Link to photos: https://media.unhcr.org/Share/q5xv8lsd31c2u7f08pwifguln084lk43

For more information on this topic, please contact:

> In Bangladesh, Regina de la Portilla, [email protected], +88 01847 327 279
> In Bangkok, Babar Baloch, [email protected], +66 80 086 5611
> In Geneva, Matthew Saltmarsh, [email protected] +41 79 967 99 36