European Union renews commitment to food and nutrition assistance for Rohingya refugees and hosts in Cox’s Bazar
COX’S BAZAR – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a new contribution of €3.5 million from the European Union (EU) to support Rohingya refugees as well as host communities in Cox’s Bazar with food assistance and nutrition support.
Adding to a previous contribution of €8 million in 2020, the total support of the EU to WFP’s food and nutrition assistance programmes in Cox’s Bazar amounts to €11.5 million, making the EU one of WFP’s key partners in the Rohingya response.
All Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar receive food assistance through e-vouchers, which gives them the freedom to shop for their preferred foods at a network of WFP retail outlets. The outlets offer common staples such as rice, fortified cooking oil, eggs and lentils, as well as fresh food corners with a selection of seasonal produce purchased directly from smallholder farmers in and around Cox’s Bazar. Around US$1 million is injected into the local economy every month through these local purchases, supporting the livelihoods of smallholder farmers who have otherwise struggled to get their produce to market during COVID-19 lockdowns.
With the EU’s support, WFP also provides supplementary nutrition assistance to refugees and host communities in Cox’s Bazar. WFP nutrition programmes target children under five and pregnant and nursing women with the aim of preventing acute malnutrition and child mortality. Specialised nutritious food is provided to all members of both groups in the camps through the blanket supplementary feeding programme. In both the camps and host community, WFP provides targeted supplementary assistance to treat malnourished women and children.
In a new nutrition pilot project developed with the EU, WFP has been providing a top-up of USD 3 per child to refugee families with young children (3 to 5 years) to purchase fresh vegetables and other nutritious foods at e-voucher outlets, which will help them improve their dietary diversity.
“WFP is grateful to the EU for stepping in at a particularly difficult time for both Rohingya refugees and host communities, affected by coronavirus lockdowns and the recent floods,” said Sheila Grudem, WFP Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar. “The EU’s continued support to food and nutrition assistance in Cox’s Bazar protects the dignity of refugees as well as provides opportunities for farmers in the region,” Grudem added.
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