The European Union has announced €18 million in funding to help improve resilience among Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi host communities in Cox’s Bazar district.
Over 288,000 children and families will benefit as part of a three-year EU-supported UNICEF programme, building synergies across four key areas of nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; education; and child protection, according to a statement issued on Thursday.
“The support from the European Union allows us to address the issue of resilience in a holistic manner, integrating and harmonising services for the delivery of better results for Rohingya and Bangladeshi children, adolescents and families,” says Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.
“We have substantially scaled up our humanitarian response over the past year and a half thanks to strong support from partners like the European Union. At the same time, the situation remains critical with 1.2 million people requiring humanitarian assistance in one of Bangladesh’s poorest and most vulnerable districts.”
Cox’s Bazar is home to 2.3 million people. Around 33 per cent live below the poverty line. Education indicators are among the lowest in the country with the primary school completion rate standing at 55 per cent. Over half of girls marry before the age of 18 and close to 50,000 children are engaged in child labour.
The district records very high rates of malnutrition. One in two children suffer from stunting due to poor maternal nutrition and the lack of adequate infant feeding and care practices.
Further, Cox’s Bazar is one of the most vulnerable districts to natural disasters in the country including cyclones, flooding and landslides caused by monsoon rains, and the impact of climate change.
“We need to act decisively to secure a better future for all those affected by the refugee crisis. With this strategic support, we aim to ensure continuity between humanitarian and development actions for
Rohingya and Bangladeshi communities,” highlights H.E. Rensje Teerink, EU Ambassador to Bangladesh.
“We shall tackle the underlying issues to improve access to water, education, child protection and food and nutrition security in Cox’s Bazar. Our aim is to strengthen local development efforts and reduce the need for humanitarian assistance in the future.”
To date, the European Union has contributed €24.8 million to UNICEF to support the Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh.
“The EU has been a key partner for UNICEF throughout the Rohingya humanitarian response. We look forward to continuing this important partnership to improve the quality of life for Rohingya refugees and the Bangladeshi host community,” says Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.
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