One year on, one million Rohingya refugees still in need
More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled violence and persecution in their home state of Rakhine, Myanmar since August 25, 2017, crossing the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
The number fleeing during this period made it the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis and has formed the world’s largest refugee camp, with more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, made up of those fleeing since August last year and around 200,000 who had fled previously.
Since August 25, 2017 significant aid has been provided, but almost 1 million Rohingya are still depending on humanitarian aid: they have no jobs, income or own resources and no prospects in terms of either staying put or moving on. Humanitarian funding does not match the needs identified by aid agencies such as nutrition, education, and protection against abuse/trafficking and adverse weather conditions. Since 2001, the EU has contributed over €23 million to disaster risk reduction and resilience building activities in this area, including €3 million in 2017. However, according to ReliefWeb, the emergency response in February 2018 has only received 74 per cent of the funding needed.
Before the Rohingya refugee crisis, three of the Alliance2015 members (Concern, Helvetas and Welthungerhilfe) were already operational for many years in Bangladesh and working with local partners. Interaction and cooperation increased to tackle the crisis, with ACTED, PIN and Welthungerhilfe arriving to contribute to the humanitarian response in 2018. With five of eight Alliance members present, we are developing options to combine efforts for greater scale and impact, and in particular to help implement Alliance2015 and ECHO core strategy to build people’s resilience even in the midst of crisis, to reduce levels of vulnerability to shocks and stresses over time.
Alliance2015 members align with the overarching priorities of NGOs active in the response, and in line with the commitments of the Grand Bargain, which include:
- Widening humanitarian space by the Government of Bangladesh to further enable operations of NGOs delivering life-saving assistance to refugees and their host communities, especially through reducing delays in granting permissions for humanitarian projects, in registering NGOs and in granting visas for humanitarian workers, coupled with simplifying and consistent government procedures relevant to the implementation of humanitarian activities.
- All stakeholders in the humanitarian response in Bangladesh must step up efforts in meeting minimum international humanitarian standards in both refugee protection and humanitarian assistance.
- Scale-up of assistance to host communities. The response must mitigate the impact of the refugee influx on resilience of the host Bangladeshi communities and improve their ability to cope with the strains of hosting nearly a million people who are forced to rely upon humanitarian aid for their basic needs.
Members of the Alliance2015 are already providing Rohingya refugees with food, hygiene kits, cooking fuel and stoves, cash for work activities, supporting them with hygiene awareness trainings to improve their living conditions and to prevent the outbreak of diseases.
We are also working on the protection of women and girls (preventive action against domestic violence and human trafficking), and on the prevention of conflicts by working with local families who lost their land when the refugees arrived.
Considering the Bangladesh’s high exposure to natural disasters, including flooding, landslides and cyclones, Alliance2015 members have also dedicated their time to preparing for such emergencies.
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