Concerns over UN food aid cut for Rohingya in Bangladesh

Concerns are mounting over the World Food Programme’s (WFP) decision to slash food support for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh due to a funding crisis.

On March 1, the WFP, citing a $125m donation shortfall, cut the monthly food vouchers for the refugees from $12 to $10 per person, warning further cuts were “imminent” without an immediate cash injection.

More than one million Rohingya refugees live in camps in Cox’s Bazar, most having fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017.The United Nations and the Bangladesh government on Tuesday called for more international aid to help the Rohingya in what has turned into the world’s largest refugee camp.

Last week, New York-based Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned the aid cut will put hundreds of thousands of Rohingya at serious risk of malnutrition by bringing the number of calories per person to below the accepted minimum standard of 2,100 calories a day.

UN said more than 12,000 Rohingya refugees were left homeless due to a fire that swept through a camp at Cox’s Bazar in southeastern Bangladesh.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday said more than 2,000 shelters and some 90 facilities including hospitals and learning centres were destroyed in Sunday’s blaze.

Rising crime, difficult living conditions and bleak prospects for returning to Myanmar are driving more Rohingya refugees to leave Bangladesh for countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia by boat, putting their lives at risk. UN data shows 348 Rohingya died at sea last year.

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