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Int’l community pledges $600m for Rohingya refugees, host communities

  • Published at 01:03 pm November 16th, 2020
rohingya camp
File photo of a Rohingya camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The funding will be allocated for the Bangladesh Joint Response Plan and the Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan

The international community has announced funding some US$600 million to assist Rohingya refugees, host communities, and internally displaced people in Myanmar.

The announcement was made at a virtual donor conference, co-hosted by US, UK, EU and the UN Refugee Agency, to promote support for Rohingya refugees and host countries highlighting funding gaps, UNHCR’s operational update on the Rohingya Refugee situation said on Monday.

The funding will be allocated for the Bangladesh Joint Response Plan and the Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan.

The conference also took the opportunity to reiterate that any sustainable solution to this situation must include the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.

Monsoon response

Apart from the funding, the statement also highlighted its monsoon response when the camps saw heavy and persistent rain for a few days as a result of a depression in the Bay of Bengal in the last week of October.

“Overall, the rains led to the total damage of 35 shelters, and close to 500 shelters were partially damaged in areas UNHCR supports. Up to 50 households needed to temporarily relocate. Site management partners referred families that required food assistance to WFP and shelter support was provided to repair or rebuild shelters that were damaged. Other damaged infrastructure, including latrines and bridges, are being rebuilt,” the update mentioned.

Suicide prevention and mental health

The update also highlighted reports of a rise in suicide attempts in the camps in Cox’s Bazar since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly among women. The data currently available on suicide is, however, difficult to read with certainty. 

Together with partners, UNHCR stepped up mental health support for refugees in Cox’s Bazar during the last few months as part of the Covid-19 pandemic response.

“UNHCR’s protection staff as well as the Inter-Agency Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Working Group have both highlighted the fact that reported suicides have been increasing… Under the MHPSS Working Group’s umbrella, some Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) are already being conducted with refugees to find out the best way to understand and speak about suicide-related issues within the community.”

UNHCR has also integrated general mental health and psychosocial support into its work on protection, health and education. 

Protecting the ecosystem

Apart from working with Rohingyas inside the camps, UNHCR has commenced a series of studies on the environment in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. 

“As part of the initiative, UNHCR will be gathering evidence-based data on soil, water, air and biodiversity, which will be used to help the agency to decide and plan how best it can contribute, with others, to ensure the recovery and future health of the environment in the locations where the refugee camps are currently located and surrounding areas,” the update said.

It also mentioned that significant environmental gains have already been made over the last two years through the introduction of LPG fuel for refugees and host communities, which reduced the cutting of trees in forest areas and improved air quality.

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