A new Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis has been launched today in Geneva. It requests US$951 million to provide life-saving assistance to 1.3 million people, including Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar to Bangladesh and local host communities.
The priority needs in the plan, which covers the March-December 2018 timeframe, include food, water and sanitation, shelter, and medical care.
Since 25 August 2017, targeted violence against Rohingya communities in Rakhine State, Myanmar, has forced 671,000 people - mostly women and children - to flee their homes. This exodus has become one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
The people and the Government of Bangladesh have responded with resounding solidarity. The Government sprang into action, assisted by humanitarian actors, including local and national non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international NGOs and the United Nations, all of whom have stepped in to offer their support and expertise. We are grateful to donors and the international community for their timely response to the initial appeal in 2017. Together with the refugees and the host communities themselves, the collective efforts of these stakeholders have saved countless lives since the beginning of the crisis. Nonetheless, much work remains to be done.
The scale and speed of the influx has had wide reaching consequences for the refugees, the communities that have welcomed them and the surrounding environment. While the refugees have inspired us with their resilience in the face of extreme adversity, they have suffered profound trauma and continue to require support to address their urgent needs. In addition, the magnitude of the crisis has placed an enormous burden on the host communities in Cox’s Bazar.
In light of this, the humanitarian community, led by the Inter-Sector Coordination Group in Cox’s Bazar and the Strategic Executive Group in Dhaka, has worked closely with the Government to draw up this Joint Response Plan (JRP) for 2018. The JRP lays out a vision for a coordinated response to address the immediate needs of the refugees and mitigate the impacts on affected host communities.
Congested living conditions continue to foster risks such as disease outbreaks and fires. Rain and the coming monsoon season will cause flooding and landslides. The likelihood of such “crises within the crisis” exacerbates the already incredibly difficult circumstances faced by the refugees. In close cooperation and coordination with the Government, we are actively ramping up our collective capacity to address such challenges. The complexities of responding to an emergency involving the rapid arrival of almost 700,000 people into a small area in the south-east corner of the country require joint efforts: continued financial support underscored by the principle of burden sharing, continued international engagement to search for solutions and continued collaboration between the humanitarian community and the authorities to deliver support to the refugees and host communities.