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Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh face grim choices as more cuts to food assistance imminent

DHAKA – Just weeks after thousands of Rohingya refugees lost their homes to Cyclone Mocha, they face another blow as funding shortages force the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to cut food vouchers in Cox’s Bazar to just US$ 8, or less than 9 cents per meal.

Funding shortfalls already forced WFP to cut its food vouchers from US$ 12 to US$ 10 per person per month, in March this year.

“We are appealing for urgent support so that we can restore rations to the full amount as soon as possible. Anything less than US$ 12 has dire consequences not only on nutrition for women and children, but also protection, safety and security for everyone in the camps,” said Dom Scalpelli, WFP Resident Representative and Country Director in Bangladesh.

Six years into the refugee crisis, nearly one million Rohingya remain stranded in the camps in Bangladesh without livelihood opportunities and relying entirely on humanitarian assistance to survive. Even with WFP’s food assistance, four in 10 families were not consuming enough food and 12 percent of children were acutely malnourished. This was before the ration cut.

With less food to get by, refugees have little choice but to resort to negative coping mechanisms. Children may be withdrawn from school or girls offered in child marriage. If refugees seek illegal employment, they face heightened risks of exploitation and abuse, and may fuel tensions between the refugees and the host community. Those desperate enough to take to the high seas face dangerous journeys and uncertain fates.

The Rohingya continue to live under the constant threat of extreme climate. While Cox’s Bazar was spared a direct hit when Cyclone Mocha made landfall on 14 May, considerable destruction to shelters and infrastructure occurred in the camps.

“WFP food assistance is the only reliable source of food for the Rohingya. We are extremely grateful for all contributions received so far, but we still need US$ 56 million to restore the full ration and keep this lifeline intact until the end of the year,” said Scalpelli.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, 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.

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Bangladesh Food Security Refugees and migration


For more information, please contact: 

Kun LI, WFP/Dhaka,,
Tel. +88 1322846137

Farhana Shahnaz, WFP/Dhaka,,
Tel. +88 01701207799