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WFP Concerned about High Malnutrition Rates among Rohingya Refugees in Cox’s Bazar

COX’S BAZAR – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is redoubling its efforts to address malnutrition among refugees in Cox’s Bazar but warns that a broader effort is needed because clean water, toilets and health facilities are just as vital as food in effectively tackling malnutrition.
  • A new survey shows that the malnutrition rates in Kutupalong refugee camp are alarming. The preliminary findings indicate that one in four Rohingya children are suffering from malnutrition; a higher rate than anticipated. The survey was conducted by UNICEF, Action Contre la Faim, Save the Children, UNHCR and WFP.
  • WFP gives micronutrient-fortified biscuits when people first arrive; then after registration, regular distributions of rice, vegetable oil and lentils; hot meals through community kitchens; nutritious porridge for pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers and children under five years old.
  • Other assessments taking place in November will provide a clearer picture of the nutrition situation for the new arrivals: two nutrition assessments at additional sites near Cox’s Bazar and a WFP household food security assessment with nutrition indicators. The findings will update the projected levels of acute malnutrition and guide the wider emergency response.
  • Food alone is not enough to beat back malnutrition; poor sanitation and unsafe water can easily make the problem worse. More than half of the new arrivals are suffering from diarrhoea. 
  • WFP provides extra nutritional porridge mix (SuperCereal) to all children under the age of five to help prevent malnutrition. We are working to make the refugees’ diets more diverse, with locally-sourced fresh foods. We will be tailoring the food baskets more closely to the actual size of the family, giving larger ration packs to bigger families.
  • Our staff are working to reach the most vulnerable by house-to-house visits, so we can also measure for malnutrition in people’s shelters; and then refer those who are most at risk to nearby feeding centers.
  • WFP is currently providing nutritional support by distributing Super Cereal Plus to more than 68,000 pregnant women and mothers of young children. Super Cereal Plus is a fortified mix that makes a nutritious porridge.
  • WFP wants to ensure food security and a decent living for both local communities and new arrivals, so we must look to create opportunities from which both can benefit.
  • WFP urgently needs US$55 million to support one million people in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh, including the new arrivals and people who were already living in camps near the border and host communities. 


Note to Editors

Photos of WFP’s operations in Cox’s Bazar are available here. Photos should be credited as follows: WFP/Saikat Mojumder

For video footage illustrating the nutrition situation please see here.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

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For more information please contact (email address:

Maherin Ahmed, WFP/Bangladesh, Mob. +880-1755-64-2160
Shelley Thakral, WFP/Bangladesh, Mob. +880-1755-64-2150