The UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday said that it needs more funds to continue assisting the hundreds of thousands Rohingya refugees, who have been living in Bangladesh camps after fleeing an offensive by the Myanmar military last year.
The WFP said it had spent around $20 million to assist the refugees in Bangladesh following the crackdown in Myanmar in August 2017.
“We are here to highlight the plight of families of Rohingya refugees so that governments around the world do not forget about their needs. The international community stepped up in a successful way… but pretty soon we will need more money,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley in a press conference.
Beasley said the shortage of funds was owing to the fact that “in the last two years the number of civilian hungry people in the word rose from 80 million to 224 million, primarily driven by man-made conflict whether we talk about Syria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria or North East Nigeria”, Efe news reported.
The WFP usually imports emergency supplies from outside the country but in the case of Bangladesh, the agency has been trying to integrate into the local economy, said Beasley, adding that the WFP has been buying around $10 million worth of products monthly from Bangladesh.
Beasley also said that the situation had improved in the refugee camps since his visit last year.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Bangladesh announced that it will begin to repatriate the Rohingyas to Myanmar around the middle of November. The announcement came nearly a year after both the countries signed a repatriation agreement in November 2017.
The Rohingya exodus had began after the Myanmar military launched the August offensive in Rakhine state following attacks on multiple government posts by Rohingya rebels.
The offensive was globally condemned for its rights abuses including loot, torture, rapes and torching of entire Rohingya villages. The UN called it “ethnic cleansing”.