The Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya refugee crisis provides the comprehensive roadmap that guides the humanitarian community’s support to the Government-led response to the Rohingya Crisis in 2019. Halfway through the year, the Mid-Term Review presents an important opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made, the challenges that remain, and with these in mind, to chart the way forward for the rest of the year.
Under the leadership of the Government of Bangladesh, and thanks to the efforts of the refugees, Bangladeshi host communities, and humanitarian partners, and generous support from the international community, significant advances have been made against the JRP’s three strategic objectives: to deliver protection; provide life-saving assistance; and foster social cohesion.
Rohingya refugees have received protection and lifesaving assistance in the camps. Nearly eight out of ten refugees consider that their living conditions in the camps have improved since 2018, reflecting some of the key achievements in strengthening services, site development, increasing the distribution of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) as an alternative to wood for cooking fuel, and the development of critical infrastructure, such as new faecal sludge treatment facilities.
As of the end of June 2019, some 380,000 refugees had also been verified through the Government of Bangladesh and UNHCR joint registration exercise, which is on track for completion by the end of the year. All refugees over age twelve receive biometric identification cards, which will enhance their access to assistance, protection and solutions interventions.
Significant efforts have also been undertaken for monsoon and cyclone preparedness and response, though the camps remain vulnerable to severe weather. Strengthened planning, capacities and coordination ensured an immediate and effective response in the wake of damage caused by monsoon rains, wind and flooding, and disaster risk reduction activities have been mainstreamed across sectors.
In parallel, Bangladeshi communities in Ukhiya and Teknaf, whose support and understanding remains the bedrock of this response, have also received scaled-up support, including in the areas of health, livelihoods, education, water and sanitation, and provision of cooking fuel.
That said, challenges remain. Refugees are still dependent on aid and uncertain about their futures. Furthermore, only one-third of the funding requested for the Rohingya response has been received, and significant operational and capacity challenges in delivering assistance remain, including in the areas of safe sanitation, hygiene, stability and safety of refugee shelters, and access to clean water and to a nutritionally varied diet.
In closing, we express our sincere gratitude to the Government of Bangladesh and all who have contributed to the real achievements of the first half of 2019. We hope that the commitment and service to Rohingya refugees and their affected host communities will continue, so we can build on the progress made and rise up to meet the challenges that remain.