The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is warning that an extensive new cut in food rations for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh will have a deadly impact.
According to the World Food Program (WFP) the UN agency has been forced to make additional cuts to the already decreasing food assistance due to critical funding gaps.
Starting on 1 of June 2023, the food assistance to nearly a million people will fall to 83% of the recognized global humanitarian standard of 2,100 kcal. This is according to a statement by NRC on May 27.
“Unfortunately, we know what happens next in these situations. When rations go down, you get a rise in malnutrition alongside compromised immune systems. Tensions increase as people do what they can to survive. This will potentially lead to increased crime and violence. You will probably get an increased reliance on hazardous coping strategies. People will get further into debt. There will be more child marriages. Some will sell sex for survival and more will attempt to leave Bangladesh through irregular routes. All will increase the risk of trafficking,” said Wendy McCance, NRC’s country director in Bangladesh.
“Today we hardly had any food. My 13-year-old son is planning to leave the country by sea. I am afraid. We all know these are deadly journeys,” a Rohingya refugee mother told NRC’s staff in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is home to nearly one million forcibly displaced Rohingyas. They all lack secure legal status and cannot move freely or work. They thereby rely entirely on humanitarian aid.
WFP’s assistance cuts are caused by the lack of funding. Less than 25%t of the funding needed for humanitarian support in 2023 has been received.