A mother holds a baby in her arms as well as a bag of biscuits
WFP/Saikat Mojumder

Rohingya People Fleeing Myanmar Violence Receive Food and Solace

Updated September 22, 2017.

Violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State has been brewing for years, and the most recent outbreak has resulted in an influx of Rohingya refugees to Cox’s Bazar across the border in Bangladesh. In response, the World Food Programme (WFP) has scaled up its food assistance to refugees here.

  • Since August 27, WFP has provided more than 204,600 people with High-Energy Biscuits (HEBs) as they arrive seeking shelter in already overcrowded settlements, as well as to more than 3,000 women in women-friendly spaces supported by the U.N. Population Fund.
  • Furthermore, about 213,700 people have received warm meals — khichuri, a South Asian comfort food made with rice and lentils — through community kitchens operated by Action Against Hunger, where WFP provides the rice. These kitchens continue to provide meals for about 5,300 people per day.
  • Finally, WFP has distributed specialized nutritious porridge for over 5,000 mothers and children — many of whom arrived across the border hungry and malnourished after days on the move — and rice to more than 167,000 people in camps and makeshift settlements.
A long line of people with bags and belongings walks down a road
WFP/Saikat Mojumder
Thousands of people cross the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh near Teknaf.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that about 415,000 people have sought safety in Bangladesh in the past two weeks. UNICEF believes that up to 60 percent are children.

“They are coming in nutritionally deprived,” WFP Bangladesh Deputy Country Director Dipayan Bhattacharyya describes to Reuters. “They have been cut off from a normal flow of food for possibly more than a month.”

Assistance is being provided alongside local partners SHED and MUKTI, as well as Action Against Hunger, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and private donors.

Those Rohingya refugees already in Bangladesh continue to receive assistance through e-vouchers or through rice and nutrition support. WFP plans to continue providing HEBs to families as they arrive, followed by 110 pounds of rice per month for four months.

The agency is carrying out food distributions to those displaced in central Rakhine State and hopes to reach 110,000 by the end of September, along with school meals for 61,000 students. Unfortunately, there is no humanitarian access for U.N. agencies in northern Rakhine State.

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