The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) will increase the food ration for the entire Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar from US$8 to US$10 per person per month, and gradually add locally forti-fied rice to its food assistance package from Sunday.
“The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is gearing up to restore its critical food assistance for the entire Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar. Starting January 1, 2024, WFP will increase the food ration from US$8 to US$10 per person per month, and gradually add locally fortified rice to its food assistance package,” said a WFP press release yesterday.
“The year 2023 was a tumultuous one for the Rohingya in Bangladesh, who lived through multiple fire outbreaks, cyclones, and, for the first time, ration cuts. The rapid deterioration of the food and nutrition situation in the camps is extremely worrying. Through all this, the donor community stood with the Rohingya – it’s all thanks to its generous contributions we can now have this increase and also add locally fortified rice to WFP’s food assistance package,” said Dom Scalpelli, WFP Country Director in Bangla-desh.
A sharp decline in resources led to a reduction in the Rohingya’s food entitlement in 2023. In March, the food voucher value for the entire population in the Cox’s Bazar camps was reduced from US$12 to US$10, and in June, to US$8 per person per month. Even before the ration cut, 40 percent of children under five were chronically malnourished and 12 percent were acutely malnourished.
Since then, WFP’s monitoring has shown a sharp decrease in food consumption and an increase in nega-tive coping mechanisms among the population. By November, 90 percent of the population did not have adequate food consumption, up from 79 percent in June. Even more worrying is the fast deterioration of the nutrition status among children.
The preliminary results of the latest nutrition survey show that global acute malnutrition (GAM) has ris-en to 15.1 percent – the highest since the onset of the2017 influx, exceeding the emergency threshold of 15 percent, according to WHO emergency classification.
In 2023, the refugees again endured multiple fire hazards and repeatedly cyclones, monsoon floods and landslides. Their vulnerability has further deepened due to the rising violence and insecurity in the camps, as well as human trafficking. As of 30 November, 3,468 Rohingya had embarked on risky boat journeys, almost half are women and children.
In addition to increasing the ration, WFP will begin the distribution of locally fortified rice to the Roh-ingya population. This will commence in one or two camps and gradually extend to all camps in Cox’s Bazar and on Bhasan Char Island.
“We remain fully committed to the Rohingya while supporting vulnerable Bangladeshis who have so generously hosted the Rohingya over the years. We are immensely grateful to all our donors for their unwavering support, and we count on them to step up even further to ensure we can provide the Rohing-ya with a full and nutritious ration in 2024,” added Scalpelli.