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Deepening Rohingya crisis: International community must do more

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28th-Apr-2018       
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THE World Food Programme (WFP) has so far received donations amounting to $45 million, which means only 18 percent of $243 million required for providing food to one million Rohingyas and 200,000 locals in Cox's Bazar until December. The amount is too small against the actual appeal of $951 million, second phase of a joint response plan, launched in March in Geneva. The slow funding response is not only seen during the current phase. For the first phase from September last year to February this year, the appeal was $434 million, but the donor countries contributed with around $400 million.
We had anticipated the deficit in advance while penning our opinion couple of months ago when the global concern and aid had nosedived. The point, however, the WFP is clearly underfunded. There is a huge gap between received funds and required funds. Beyond December, it may be very difficult to raise so much money from the international community. Because there are other international crises, and the funding for those is also limited. And with the Middle East in turmoil the crunch will get squeezed even more.  
For the WFP, the required fund in the first six months was $88.55 million, but it received $77.23 million, prompting it to borrow grains initially from the Bangladesh government. We fear, such a funding scenario poses serious risks for Bangladesh that is bearing the brunt since the influx of around 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled atrocities in Myanmar's Rakhine State and joined nearly 400,000 others, who arrived earlier.
It is astonishing that; the world community is apparently not paying deep attention to the Rohingya crisis. Apart from neighbouring India and China, the role of OIC nations and other Muslim countries is also not satisfactory at all. Several heads of the state and government visited the refugee camps in the recent days but their overall support was not encouraging.  
The progress of the repatriation process is very slow. Even if, it happens, it would take time.  But under this window period of 10 months, it becomes necessary to arrange a mid-term option because it is unrealistic to assume that over a million people would go back within the 10 months.
At the same time, we think, our government should take an aggressive diplomatic effort and call for the international community to force Myanmar to shoulder full responsibility of the displaced Rohingyas. Otherwise, Bangladesh will have to face the bitter consequences.

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