Dhaka, March 25 (IANS) The UN Refugee Agency said here on Monday only 14 per cent of the $920 million needed has been pledged so far in response to its new plan to support 900,000 Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh.
Khaled Khalifa, agency's representative for Gulf countries, said the 2019 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Muslim minority refugees had to compete with other emergencies for funding, Efe news reported.
"Unfortunately, most response plans around the world are under-funded, which means the refugees and people in need don't receive the optimum service we hope to provide them," Khalifa said.
"(It's) a sad situation that emergencies compete for funding and for visibility in the media. We are hoping the JRP will receive higher level of funding than last year," said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official.
"Until now, the plan is funded 14 per cent only. This is a small percentage. In 2018, by the end of the year the plan was funded 64 per cent," he said. Last year, the JRP raised $655 million against a target of $950 million.
The UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in February launched a campaign to raise $920 million for a new plan to aid Rohingyas in Bangladesh.
Over half of the requested money, also meant to assist 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshi hosts, is needed to meet the basic needs like food, water, sanitation and shelter of the refugees who have fled Myanmar to the neighbouring country since 2017.
The rest of the fund will be used to finance programmes related to education, health and protection of women and children, according to the UNHCR and the IOM.
Rashid M Khalikov, an Assistant Secretary General of the UN for Humanitarian Partnership with Middle-East and Central Asia, led a high-level partnership mission in Bangladesh from March 21 to observe and assess the humanitarian needs and challenges on the ground of both the refugees and the host communities.
Over 738,000 Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state since August 2017. Around 200,000 Rohingyas had escaped to Bangladesh earlier.
Most refugees live under harsh conditions in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar area near the Myanmar border, which has become the biggest refugee camp in the world.
Myanmar does not recognise Rohingyas as its citizens and considers them Bangladeshi immigrants, although Dhaka has also treated them as foreigners.