Rohingya crisis: Only 22% of $920m JRP 2019 appeal met so far
DOT Desk: Halfway into 2019, only 22% of the $920 million annual appeal for the Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis has been met so far, prompting officials of the government and international organisations to express concerns over the slow pace of fund collection, reports The Dhaka Tribune.
They have expressed fear that the apparent apathy in funding, especially in some key sectors such as food security, health, shelter, protection and nutrition, can have significant negative impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, who had to flee their homes due to unprecedented atrocities orchestrated by Myanmar security forces, local Buddhist mobs, and people from other ethnic groups in Rakhine State. The officials placed great emphasis on the necessity for smooth flow of funding to ensure efficient operation of relief activities in one of the gravest humanitarian crises in recent history. JPR 2019 was launched in Geneva on February 15, seeking $920.5 million to cover expenses in the period between January and December. About 69% of the $950m appeal in JRP 2018 was met, while around 64% of the $434m sought under JRP 2017 was provided. According to the financial tracking system of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), only $202.3m_less than one quarter_of the $920.5m asked for in JRP 2019 has been met.
For food security, $54.1m (21.3%) of the $254.1m sought was funded. Of $128.8m for shelter, only $7.5m (5.8%) has so far been collected. For health, $6m (6.8%) of $88.7m has been provided. For nutrition, out of $48.1m, a paltry $2.2m, which is 4.6%, has been made available, while for protection, $8m out of $38.9m has been collected.
The funding scenario in regards to other sectors – child protection, communication with communities, coordination, education, emergency telecommunication, gender-based violence, logistics and site management – is more or less the same.
“The current flow of funding is not what we expected. In all our meetings with the international community, we ask them to ensure the proper funds needed to look after the Rohingyas,” Abul Kalam, refugee relief and repatriation commissioner (RRRC) based in Cox’s Bazar, told Dhaka Tribune.
“We always get assurances from donors that money will be no problem,” he added.
“We do hope that they will live up to their pledges,” said Kalam, also an additional secretary of the Disaster Management Ministry and the top government official dealing with the Rohingya issue in Cox’s Bazar.
“Prior to and after opening our border to the Rohingyas, we have been led to believe that money will never be a problem. Now, after about half of the year, 22% of the fund appeal has been met, which is inadequate,” said a senior government official, who did not wish to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
“These people (the Rohingyas) are under our care. If their well-being is affected due to the lack of funding, Bangladesh will have to take the blame. This is the last thing we want,” he added, expressing his optimism that the international community will do what is needed to maintain smooth flow of funding.
“We are grateful to our donors for their support so far, and we sincerely hope that the donors will be more generous in the coming days,” said an official of a UN organization.
“It is needless to say that vital issues in respect to the well-being of the Rohingyas will be compromised if proper funding does not arrive at the proper time,” he added.
“Look, it (the Rohingya crisis) is a long haul. No one knows when the crisis will end. If the flow of funding continues in this way, the people may become worried about the future,” said an official of an international humanitarian organisation.