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World Food Programme plans to cut food aid to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Human rights groups and international organizations have raised concerns over a plan by the World Food Programme (WFP) to reduce food aid for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The WFP recently announced that it would have to reduce food rations to refugees starting next month. “We have learned that the WFP will decrease food supplies in March. The WFP has provided food aid equivalent to $12 per person. Now, it has been announced that the aid will be reduced to ten dollars,” an official from Bangladesh’s Kutupalong refugee camp told DVB on the condition of anonymity. 

The United Nations (UN) warned of “catastrophic consequences” for Rohingya refugees, in a statement issued on Feb. 16. The UN states that food rations will be reduced by 17 percent starting on March 1, 2023. More reductions may be required if new funding is not secured by April 2023. The WFP is appealing for $125 million in funding to avoid ration cuts. “If these cuts are made, they will be imposed on vulnerable people who are already food insecure. Acute malnutrition levels remain high, and chronic malnutrition is pervasive among the Rohingya refugee population in Bangladesh, with more than a third of children stunted and underweight,” said UN experts.

“UN agencies should reduce their organizational expenses and instead provide for refugees. The salaries of UN staff, cars, hotels, are costing more than what they have given to refugees. The refugees have demanded additional assistance up to $20 because the current $12 food aid is insufficient. But now they [the UN] are going to provide food aid up to about $10 USD, so the refugees may face starvation,” a Rohingya refugee advocate told DVB on the condition of anonymity.

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