World Bank approves 165 million dollars to support Rohingya
March 9th, 2019 at 4:39 pm
World Bank approves 165 million dollars to support Rohingya

Dhaka – The World Bank has approved 165 million dollars in grant to help provide basic services and build disaster and social resilience for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims sheltered in Bangladesh fleeing a brutal military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar.

The Bank in a statement said on Saturday that the fund would be utilized for building and rehabilitating basic infrastructure, improve community resilience and help prevent gender-based violence in two southern sub-districts of Cox’s Bazar.

The World Bank
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More than a million Rohingya Muslims have been living in tents in Ukhiya and Teknaf sub-districts after they were driven away from home in Myanmar’s Rakhine state over the past decades.

An estimated 730,000 Rohingya crossed the border after the Myanmar military launched a crackdown in August 2017 creating a humanitarian situation in Bangladesh. The others arrived in the past years as the Buddhist-majority Myanmar continues to persecute the minority Muslims.

The World Bank said the infrastructure development include building a water supply system comprising of community standpoints, rainwater harvesting, and piped water supply systems as well as improve sanitation facilities.

Bangladesh Myanmar refugee Rohingya
Life in Rohingya camp – photo by MSF

The project will also build and improve multipurpose cyclone shelters, roads, footpaths, drains, culverts, bridges and install solar street lights inside the camps, according to the statement.

“Bangladesh has shown great generosity by sheltering and providing for a nearly a million Rohingya people, despite its own development challenges,” said Dandan Chen, World Bank Acting Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan. 

Bangladesh Myanmar
These Rohingya women fled their homes in Myanmar after lAugust 2017 anti-insurgency clampdown in Rakhine state. They took shelter on roads in Bangladesh to seek aids for living – photo

“The influx has placed enormous pressure on local infrastructure, services and public resources. This project will contribute to improving basic public infrastructure and living conditions in the congested camp,” Chen said adding that the local population would also be covered under the existing and new projects

The Rohingya are living in extremely congested conditions in Cox Bazar, an area that is prone to weather shocks. 

The project will respond to natural disaster shocks and gender-based violence through strengthened government systems. The project service deliveries will focus on women and children, including interventions to prevent gender-based violence. Water and sanitation facilities will target women, children and disabled individuals and the street lights will contribute to better safety, said the Bank.

“More than half of the Rohingya population are women and girls and before coming to Bangladesh they were exposed to gender-based violence and now are at risk,” said Swarna Kazi, World Bank Team Leader for the project.

This is the third in a series of planned financings of approximately half a billion dollars announced by the World Bank in June 2018.

Earlier, the World Bank committed a $75 million grant to provide for the health and learning needs of the Rohingya.

Bangladesh Rohingya
A new Rohingya settlement in Balukhali of Cox’s Bazar — Photo by Nazrul Islam

The World Bank is helping the host communities with about $200 million support in Cox’s Bazar through ongoing projects: disaster preparedness including building and rehabilitating cyclone shelters; improving basic infrastructures and governance in union parishads, pourashabhas, and municipal areas; social protection; and, collaborative forest management and income generation opportunities for the host communities.

The Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then the World Bank has committed more than $30 billion in grants and interest-free credits to Bangladesh.

In recent years, Bangladesh has been among the largest recipients of the World Bank’s interest-free credits, according to the statement.