The Government of Japan has contributed US$ 4.4 million in funding to the World Food Programme (WFP) for the life-saving food assistance for Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char on June 13.
An Exchange of Notes was signed by Mr. IWAMA Kiminori, Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh, and Mr. Dom Scalpelli, Resident Representative and Country Director, WFP Bangladesh.
Without livelihood opportunities, the Rohingya rely entirely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. WFP’s assistance is the only reliable source of food for the nearly 1 million Rohingya living in Bangladesh. In March, this lifeline had to be cut, from the full amount of US$12 to $10, and again in June, to $8 per person, per month in the Cox’s Bazar camps. To cope, families may resort to harmful practices that make them even more vulnerable to malnutrition, exploitation, human trafficking and other protection risks.
While Bangladesh missed the eye of Cyclone Mocha, all camps were affected, with 40,000 shelters – made of bamboo and tarpaulin – damaged or destroyed. There is an urgent need to replenish food stocks as monsoon season sets in.
“At a time when we have been forced to cut food rations for the Rohingya families, this contribution from Japan could not have been more timely,” said Dom Scalpelli, WFP Resident Representative and Country Director. “We hope more donors will step up and keep the plight of the Rohingya high on their aid agenda. We are appealing for US$ 48 million to restore the full ration. 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.”
Ambassador IWAMA expressed his hope that the support from Government of Japan would improve living conditions of both Rohingya and host communities.
“Following the $1 million emergency food assistance in March of this year, we are pleased to announce our decision to provide $4.4 million in life-saving food assistance to the Rohingya through the WFP. We hope that this grant will help alleviate the severe food crisis, improve public health, and enhance the quality of life of the people living in the camps. Japan will continue to work toward a durable settlement, including repatriation to Myanmar, and will cooperate with international organizations, including the WFP, to realize better living conditions for refugees and host communities.,” he said.
Since the beginning of the emergency in August 2017, Japan has been a steadfast supporter of the Rohingya refugee response in Bangladesh, contributing over USD $200 million to WFP and other UN agencies as well as NGOs in Bangladesh, including through this new funding.