Monday, January 21, 2019

US, ADB scale up funding for Rohingya refugees

  • Abdur Rahim Harmachi,
    Published: 2018-05-15 19:40:45 BdST

Visiting USAID Administrator Mark Green (center) with US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat (on left) and USAID Bangladesh Mission Director Janina Jaruzelski (on right) speaks to reporters at Balukhali Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.

The United States has announced additional financial assistance and the Asian Development Bank plans to give grants for Rohingya refugees camped in Bangladesh.

The United States is providing an additional $44 million in humanitarian assistance to meet the urgent needs of Rohingya refugees and others affected by violence and conflict in Myanmar, USAID said in a statement on Tuesday.

The new fund brings the total US humanitarian assistance to more than $299 million since the beginning of fiscal 2017.

USAID Administrator Mark Green announced this new funding during his visit to the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar.

Since August last year, about 700,000 Rohingya people have fled violence in Rakhine State, crossing the border into Bangladesh, which was already hosting more than 300,000 Rohingya refugees.

In addition, in Myanmar, 8.3 million people live in areas affected by conflict, not only in Rakhine State, but throughout the country.  This conflict, and the ensuing displacement of people, has created one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises.

With the new fund, the US will provide emergency food for general distribution, specialised foods to treat acute malnutrition, and vouchers so refugees can buy food in local markets.

This funding will also provide emergency food and nutrition assistance, shelter, medical care, and other critical aid for millions of people affected by the conflict in Rakhine, Shan and Kachin states in Myanmar, according to the statement.

 The ADB is also actively considering grant support to Bangladesh to help tackle the Rohingya crisis.

 “Based on the request from the Bangladesh government, the ADB will consider providing a substantial amount of grant support, as an exceptional case, to refugees as well as host communities in close collaboration with the government and the World Bank,” Country Director Manmohan Parkash told on Tuesday.

An ADB team led by its country director visited Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday to identify scope and areas of a project to be developed jointly with the government. The amount and date are yet to be confirmed.

An official with the Economic Relations Division said the ADB amount may go up to $200 million.

The assistance may be used to meet the basic needs of Rohingya refugees and the host communities.