The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, who has just concluded a joint visit to the refugee camps in Kutupalong-Balukhali, Cox’s Bazar, with the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, today announced extra funding of $US4.6 million (30 million DKK) to meet the urgent food needs of Rohingya refugees and host communities.
Cox’s Bazar has been one of WFP’s largest Asia operations since August 2017 when more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees began fleeing repression in Rakhine State, Myanmar. The Danish government was one of the first donors to support WFP in meeting the urgent humanitarian needs of the Rohingya refugees. Having allocated 203 million DKK in 2017, and 360 million DKK so far in 2018, Denmark plans to further increase humanitarian and development assistance.
During their two-day visit to Cox’s Bazar Tørnæs and Beasley saw first-hand WFP’s general food assistance programmes, disaster risk reduction work, nutrition centres and school feeding, as well as site management and engineering work carried out by WFP with the International Organisation of Migration and the UN Refugee Agency.
The Minister stressed the need for further cooperation, dialogue, and sustained efforts from the international community. ‘It has been one year since I last visited these camps. I am pleased to see positive changes. Indeed, the resilience demonstrated by the Rohingya community is evident to us all. I am impressed with the results of the combined efforts of the international community and the Government of Bangladesh.
‘There is of course much more to be done. Yet, I must express appreciation for the work the World Food Programme is carrying out supporting 870,000 refugees with protection, food, and shelter. I also commend the incredible efforts by the Government of Bangladesh supporting the Rohingya refugees. Denmark is proud to stand behind Bangladesh through these challenging times,’ Tornaes said.
Beasley said: “For the past year, I have been haunted by the stories I heard here in Cox’s Bazar from people who survived unspeakable persecution in Myanmar. Returning to these camps now I am heartened by the obvious improvements and am more determined than ever that the World Food Programme will stand with those in need. More works need to be done to support the Rohingya people and local Bangladeshi communities. International communities need to work with Bangladesh to give hope and provide education for the innocent Rohingya children.
‘This crisis must not be forgotten. I am grateful to the people of Bangladesh for all it has done to offer sanctuary to those who fled Rakhine State, and I am grateful to the financial support and partnership of Denmark that has allowed WFP to continue its work here,’ Beasley said.
The joint visit to Bangladesh underlined the strategic cooperation between the Danish Government and the World Food Programme to promote food security particularly in vulnerable countries and contexts to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030, and on promoting partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
About Danish Development Cooperation: Denmark is supporting Rohingyas in Myanmar and Bangladesh through several partners including the WFP, UNHCR, ICRC, IOM, Danish Refugee Council in programmes for a total value of 318 million DKK. In addition to the projects led by the WFP, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation also visited other Danish government-supported humanitarian projects on protection, food, and shelter for the refugees. Additionally, Denmark has amended its bilateral country programme by allocating a further 83 million DKK to increase resistance among local host communities impacted by the mass migration.