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Rohingyas: The cause of food insecurity for locals

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05th-Apr-2019       
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THE influx of Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar has caused severe food insecurity for the locals. Hundreds of makeshift shanties on arable lands are depriving many local farmers in growing crops, vegetables and fruits that have caused food insecurity for the inhabitants. The locals feel helpless when Rohingya people live on their lands, grab their lands, use their ponds and other household materials without any permission.
The 2019 Global Report on food crises by "Global Network Against Food Crises" said the host populations face higher levels of food insecurity than the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Its members are United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme, and the European Union. According to the report, the locals also face decreased access to basic services and an increase in staple food prices because of higher demand.
Households with poverty or borderline food consumption have increased sharply from 31 percent in 2017 to 80 percent in August to September 2018. Local farmers in Teknaf and Ukhiya have always faced a lack of fresh water for agricultural production. However, contamination in the affected areas has intensified due to scarcity of clean water for cooking and normal daily hygiene, while the population increase has massively increased overall demand for fresh water. The report said almost 2,000 hectares of forest reserves have also been damaged due to settlements, which has deprived the local community of earning a living from the forest resources. Since the crisis escalated in August 2017, a ban has been placed on fishing in the Naf River for security and border control reasons. This prohibition has placed significant pressure on an estimated 30,000 fishermen and their families.
The government and Aid agencies should work coordinately to support the local people with food, health service, sanitation facilities and education. Besides, it needs a separate plan to ensure early repatriation of Rohingyas. The delay of repatriation process would create more crises.


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