Netherlands, UN migration agency sign $7.5M deal to aid Rohingya in Bangladesh


The Netherlands Embassy in Dhaka and the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed a $7.5 million agreement to support persecuted Rohingya refugees and host communities in Cox’s Bazar.

The agreement was signed on Monday (Nov 28, 2022) by Thijs Woudstra, deputy ambassador of The Netherlands to Bangladesh, and Fathima Nusrath Ghazzali, officer-in-charge of IOM Bangladesh, in the capital Dhaka.

Cox’s Bazar district, currently hosting nearly one million Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar after the military launched a bloody crackdown in August 2017, is prone to natural disasters and climate change impacts.

The project “Restoring the Environment and Strengthening Resilience of Rohingya Refugees and Host Communities in Cox’s Bazar” will support 196,463 Rohingya refugees, while 18,000 refugees will receive lay counseling by trained community volunteers, according to an IOM statement.

The project will further support 30,000 refugee families living in the landslide and flood-prone areas (inside the camps) and 3,000 families from the Bangladeshi host communities, it added.

Refugees and host communities are vulnerable to landslides and floods, particularly during cyclones which can occur annually, said IOM.

For this reason, the project seeks to integrate mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) into Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities.

At least 200 volunteers will be trained in Psychological First Aid (PFA), lay counseling, stress management, and other health-related issues.

“The Rohingya live in congested camps with limited opportunities and complex challenges. Host communities also face issues that increase their vulnerability, including strained resources, limited market access, limited employment opportunities, insufficient infrastructure, and recurring environmental shocks,” said Ghazzali.

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