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Japan donates US$5.4m for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Staff Correspondent

April 18th, 2024 | 04:53:20 PM

The World Food Programme (WFP) has received a new contribution of US$5.4 million from the government of Japan as humanitarian response to Rohingya crisis.

A handover ceremony was held today in the city with the participation of Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh IWAMA Kiminori and WFP Bangladesh Country Director Dom Scalpelli, said a WFP press release here.

"We are pleased to have decided to provide $5.4 million in life-saving food assistance to the displaced Rohingya people through WFP, building on the $4.4 million provided in June last year," IWAMA said.

This contribution underscores Japan's unwavering commitment to humanitarian aid and dedication to addressing hunger and malnutrition, the Japanese ambassador said. 

"By supporting the Rohingya community, we alleviate immediate suffering and contribute to the broader goal of fostering stability and peace in the region," IWAMA added.

According to the release, in 2023, dwindling donor funding forced WFP to reduce the monthly food entitlement for the entire Rohingya population in Cox's Bazar from US$12 per person per month to US$10 in March, then to US$8 in June. 

The latest monitoring by WFP and humanitarian partners has shown that the situation in the camps has deteriorated significantly, with a staggering 90 per cent of the population lacking access to an adequate diet and over 15 per cent of young children suffering from malnutrition.

More worrying still is the increasing violence and insecurity in the camps, as well as human trafficking. UNHCR reported that nearly 4,500 Rohingyas embarked on deadly sea journeys in 2023 - a significant increase from previous years.

Thanks to the commitment of the donor community, starting January 1, WFP has partially restored the ration to US$10 per person per month and added locally fortified rice into the assistance package for the first time. 

The timely funding from Japan will enable WFP to continue providing life-saving food assistance and bolstering disaster risk reduction initiatives for the Rohingyas. It will also be used to support the host community in Cox's Bazar in building their resilience against climate shocks.

"We are deeply grateful for Japan's latest funding and their steadfast support over the years," said WFP Country Director Scalpelli. 
"While we are encouraged by the partial increase of the rations, the escalating hunger and malnutrition rates in the camps highlight the urgent need to fully restore the ration. We rely on Japan and the rest of the donor community to continue their vital support, ensuring that we can meet, at least, the Rohingya's basic food and nutrition needs until they can be repatriated safely," Scalpelli added. 

WFP needs another US$38 million in funding to fully restore the ration - now US$12.5 per person per month, with fortified rice added - for the remainder of the year.

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