UAE contribution helps assist nearly 133,000 Rohingya refugees in emergency nutrition program

UAE’s contribution to assist more than 133,000 Rohingya refugees hailed by the UN Refugees Agency as the UNHCR concluded its emergency nutrition project in Bangladesh. The UN Refugee Agency in Bangladesh has assisted nearly 133,000 Rohingya refugees through an integrated nutrition project thanks to generous financial support from the United Arab Emirates.

The project, which was managed and implemented by UNHCR and partners in Bangladesh, aimed to address malnutrition among vulnerable Rohingya refugees living in camps and new settlements located in the areas of Ukhia and Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar District, south of Bangladesh. Amongst those assisted through the project, were 78,000 adult women and children.

The contribution from the UAE, worth DH 7.35 million (US$ 2 million), to support “Emergency nutrition for Rohingya women and children refugees in Bangladesh” allowed UNHCR and partners to significantly scale up its nutrition programs; from 3 centers prior to the August 2017 influx to 31 centers by the end of 2018, according to the UNHCR statement on Tuesday.

This includes efforts to establish, equip, and activate 22 health facilities including Outpatient Therapeutic Feeding Programs (OTPs) and Blanket Supplementary Feeding Programs for children under 5 years old and pregnant and lactating women (PLW). The influx of refugees into the district has put immense strain on one of Bangladesh’s most impoverished areas where malnutrition and food insecurity are at crisis levels and poverty already well above Bangladesh’s national average.

Through this program, UNHCR was able to put in place a number of life-saving malnutrition prevention interventions to treat severe and moderate malnutrition. Around 600 community nutrition outreach volunteers were recruited and trained to advocate for healthy eating and regular nutrition screening and to provide referral and follow-up on children already enrolled in nutrition programs. A total of 17,193 children aged 6 to 59 months were admitted for treatment and follow up.

“The UAE is a valued supporter of UNHCR in a number of humanitarian crises around the world including in Bangladesh, where Rohingya refugees are living in really desperate conditions.” said Khaled Khalifa, UNHCR Regional Representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries. “In this instance, the support provided by the UAE contributed to the betterment of the overall nutrition situation among the Rohingya refugees living in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps and settlements.” He added.

For his part, Sultan Al Shamsi, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for International Development, said that the UAE is committed to supporting efforts to respond to humanitarian crises worldwide, especially those resulting from conflict and natural disasters, whether through direct response or in partnership with international organizations and UN agencies. In this context, the support from the UAE to UNHCR, worth Dh7.35 million (US$ 2 million), was for the implementation of the project to provide emergency nutritional support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, with a focus on women and children. While expressing the UAE’s appreciation for the work of UNHCR in responding to humanitarian crises globally,

Al Shamsi said that the UAE will continue to provide support to Rohingya refugees, especially women and children, as they are believed to be most affected in such situations.