Six United Nations agencies have started implementing Rohingya response projects at refugee camps in Cox’ Bazar and Bhasan Char since January this year, following the allocation of over USD 9 million from the United Nation’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
The agencies together with the government of Bangladesh and their partners are providing refugees with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders, food assistance, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, and protection.
The projects are also aimed at providing support to women, girls, and people with disabilities, said the UNHCR on Monday.
In November, 2022, the CERF allocated USD 9 million to six UN agencies -- the UN Migration Agency (IOM), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Women and the World Food Programme (WFP) -- to provide life-saving services to over 943,000 Rohingya refugees staying in camps in Cox’s Bazar and on the island of Bhasan Char, and over 17,800 members of the host community in Ukhiya and Teknaf.
IOM and UNHCR are distributing LPG to refugee households in camps in Cox’s Bazar. As a result, a total of 856,851 refugees have started receiving Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders. The distribution of LPG protects refugees’ health and living conditions, as it reduces smoke inhalation and protection risks related to the collection of firewood from forests.
The projects supported by IOM and UNHCR in Cox's Bazar are also providing services to the most vulnerable groups, including women, children, elderly and refugees living with disabilities, including community outreach programmes and awareness-raising activities.
UNFPA received 250,000 USD to support the Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and gender-based violence (GBV) integration interventions in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char. The main objective of the UNFPA project is to strengthen the protection and response of over 335,000 Rohingya refugee women and girls from any form of GBV.
The UNFPA supported interventions to be implemented by the end of 2023 including procurement and distribution of reproductive health kits, commodities, medicines, and supplies such as family planning methods as well as post-rape management kits, strengthening SRH/GBV referral services, building the capacity of health workers on clinical management of GBV and intimate partner violence, facilitation of basic sexual reproductive health services within women-friendly spaces by the deployment of midwives as well as provision of GBV case management within health facilities.
UNICEF and partners are preventing and responding to the pressing child protection and GBV concerns in Bhasan Char through an integrated approach that blends service provision with community awareness and empowerment activities.
UN Women is enhancing access to lifesaving, essential GBV services and support among survivors and those at risk of GBV in the Rohingya refugee camps. The agency already has 5 multipurpose women’s centres in the camps, and the CERF funding will be allocated to livelihood activities and GBV support in these multipurpose centres.
WFP is providing food and nutrition assistance to refugees through food vouchers that could be redeemed for a wide range of dry and fresh food items at WFP outlets throughout the camps. However, due to a funding shortage, WFP has no choice but to cut the voucher value from US$12 per person per month to US$10, starting on March 1.
The reduction came at a time when the entire Rohingya population remained dependent on WFP to meet their basic food and nutrition needs and malnutrition among children and women was already high.
Commenting on the allocation of the funds in November, 2022, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis said, “The UN in Bangladesh welcomes the decision of the Emergency Relief Coordinator to allocate these funds to the currently underfunded Rohingya Response to support refugees and the host community in their daily struggle for survival.”
“In consultation with the government of Bangladesh and local NGOs, the money allocated from the CERF will help protect refugees, tackle gender-based violence, and contribute to an environment respectful of refugee rights and well-being,” she said.
CERF is a mechanism through which donors pool their contributions in advance, allowing humanitarian agencies to provide initial, life-saving assistance wherever crises strike while they await additional funding.