The United Nations aid agencies and NGO partners launched the 2019 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis.
The appeal seeks to raise $920 million to meet the massive needs of more than 900,000 refugees from Myanmar and over 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in host communities, according to UNHCR.
Critical aid and services such as food, water, sanitation and shelter represent more than half of the funding needs this year. Other key sectors of the appeal include health, site management, protection activities including child protection and addressing sexual and gender-based violence, education and nutrition.
More than 745,000 Rohingya refugees have fled from Myanmars Rakhine State to Bangladesh since August 2017, escaping violence in Myanmar and joining roughly 200,000 others already displaced in the Coxs Bazar area by previous cycles of violence.
The new JRP sets out a comprehensive humanitarian effort shaped around three strategic objectives. By bringing together 132 partners - UN agencies, international and national NGOs and government bodies in a collective effort the Plan aims to deliver protection to refugee women, men, girls and boys, provide life-saving assistance and foster social cohesion.
The 2019 JRP is the third joint humanitarian appeal and builds on achievements made thus far in order to further stabilize the situation of Rohingya refugees.
Over the past 12 months aid agencies have worked to improve the conditions across refugee settlements through the support provided under the 2018 JRP providing basic assistance, upgrading living conditions in the camps and putting in place disaster risk mitigation measures for monsoon and cyclone seasons.
The environmental impact of the influx has been reduced, through efforts such as reducing the demand for firewood through provision of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as an alternative cooking and heating fuel.
The prevalence of global acute malnutrition, at emergency levels in late 2017, has now dropped below the emergency threshold (from 19% to 12%), food security has improved, immunization coverage has grown to 89 per cent, and women delivering their babies in health facilities has risen from 22 per cent to 40 per cent.
Despite these and other achievements, the Rohingya remain in an extremely precarious situation, highlighting the importance of sustained support. Until the root causes of displacement in Myanmar are addressed and refugees are able to voluntarily return in safety and dignity, support must be provided to the Bangladeshi authorities to meet the needs of refugees and the host communities.
For example, the entire refugee population received basic emergency shelter kits to help them cope with the rainy season in 2018, but safer and more robust shelters are now required.
Around 860,000 refugees regularly receive food assistance, yet only 240,000 are able to diversify their diet beyond the minimum package of rice, lentils and oil. These resources must be expanded to ensure their nutrition and health. Similarly, continued investments into safe water and sanitation, health and protection services are vital.
The 2018 JRP was funded at 69%, or $655 million received against $950 million requested. (QNA)
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