The UN World Food Program (WFP) has announced one more round of cuts for food aid for Rohingya refugees in camps in Bangladesh. The next round of cuts is due to a funding shortfall. The first round of cuts took effect March 1st and food vouchers went from $12 to $10. The next round of cuts will drop the food vouchers from $10 to $8.
The timing of the food cuts could not be worse, given the impact Cyclone Mocha had when it hit the Rakhine state in Myanmar. Dozens of houses and shelters were destroyed and Rohingya Khobor has reported that the death tolls stands over 100 people, the majority being Rohingya people, with the Myanmar junta continuing not to report accurate figures. In Bangladesh, Gwyn Lewis, the U.N. resident coordinator in Bangladesh, said that in addition to the food aid cut, “now we also need additional support to rebuild the camps after the cyclone and prepare for the monsoons.”
The WFP has continued to emphasize that food cuts will continue to drive child marriage, increase exploitation and abuse of those looking for work to feed their families. Rohingya families are already not consuming enough food and malnutrition is rampant in the camps.
UN and other foreign diplomats have asked Bangladesh to consider lifting the ban to allow Rohingya to work in the Cox Bazar region, however, many warn that this could bring resentment among locals in the area.
The new food cuts will take effect June 1st.