Save the Children and WFP unite to battle Rohingya malnutrition

With the arrival of approximately 618,000 newly displaced people from Myanmar since 25 August 2017, both refugees and host communities face widespread poverty and hunger, and critically high under-nutrition rates.

Supported by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Save the Children has begun distributing food to newly arrived Rohingya families, many of them malnourished.

A new survey – by WFP, Save the Children, UNICEF, UNHCR and Action Contre la Faim – points to alarming rates of malnutrition in Kutupalong refugee camp, with as many as one in four children affected.

“We are very happy to be starting supplementary feeding in refugee camps for children, mothers and the most vulnerable. The project builds on similar successful partnerships between Save the Children and WFP in other parts of the world,” said Mark O’Hora, Programme Director of Save the Children.

A Rohingya refugee family sits in a line as they wait to receive humanitarian aid at the Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

“This food distribution programme should help prevent children, and pregnant and lactating women in Kutapalong from slipping into acute malnutrition.”

Speaking for WFP, Emergency coordinator Peter Guest said the agency was “working to diversify refugees’ diets, with locally-sourced fresh foods, as well as matching rations to household size to ensure larger families do not lose out.”

The partnership will see more than 347,000 people receiving food parcels through a general food distribution and the support of more than 68,700 children and pregnant and lactating women through a supplementary feeding programme.

Further assessments due this month will provide a clearer picture of how new arrivals are faring. The findings will update projected levels of acute malnutrition and guide the wider emergency response.

Cox’s Bazar has been home to one of the world’s most protracted refugee situations, with Rohingya families from Northern Rakhine, Myanmar, living in the camp and makeshift site settlements for more than 20 years. With the arrival of approximately 618,000 newly displaced people from Myanmar since 25 August 2017, both refugees and host communities face widespread poverty and hunger, and critically high under-nutrition rates.

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