DHAKA � The World Food Programme (WFP) governing body, the Executive Board, visited Bangladesh to see the agency’s humanitarian response for families living in the camps in Cox’s Bazar, and support to the host communities.
Led by the President of the Executive Board, H.E. Hisham Mohamed Badr of Egypt, the delegation comprised of representatives from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Poland and Switzerland.
As members of the Executive Board of WFP, we were here to learn about how WFP is carrying out its mandate in achieving Zero Hunger in one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and also providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance to nearly one million people in Cox’s Bazar, explained Ambassador Badr. We were pleased to hear from both the Government of Bangladesh and United Nations partners of the exemplary cooperation with WFP on the ground.’
With the influx of the Rohingya refugees two years ago, WFP’s operations have drastically increased. Today, the agency provides food assistance to 85 percent of the camp residents, through either in-kind food or an e-voucher scheme. With the latter, families receive monthly entitlements on a pre-paid assistance card and use them to buy a variety of foods at WFP-contracted outlets. E-vouchers greatly improve their access to a more diverse range of foods, while encouraging production of food locally and stimulating the local economy.
Sitting on an extremely disaster-prone area, the camps are becoming much safer with the ongoing engineering works implemented jointly by WFP, IOM and UNHCR. Under the partnership, 50,000 sqm of road was built, 85,000 sqm of existing road repaired and 280,000 sqm of slopes stabilized. Through another joint project with FAO and IOM, close to 1 million trees were planted as part of the reforestation effort. These activities were made possible with the participation of camp residents and members of the host communities.
The President of the Board and his delegation were particularly impressed with WFP’s work for children and women both inside and outside the camps. Through partnerships with other United Nations agencies and NGOs, WFP provides school meals for 380,000 children across Cox’s Bazar. On each school day, children get micronutrient-fortified biscuits as a snack, along with access to an essential learning package of health, nutrition and hygiene services.
The lives of the families are still very difficult, reflected President Badr. Despite many challenges, WFP, with the collaboration of so many partners, is doing an amazing job in keeping children healthy, well-nourished and educated, and the lives of their families a bit more comfortable with each passing day. We wish to thank the host communities and the Government of Bangladesh for their generous hospitality and compassion for the Rohingya people. Their solidarity and support are deeply appreciated by the international community which must continue its support.
My colleagues and I are leaving Cox’s Bazar and Bangladesh with a message of love: love these children, protect them, educate them, and give them all we can to ensure that they grow up � no matter where they might be in the future � with nothing but hope and love.
The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.
Source: World Health Organization