The World Bank (WB) has approved $165 million to help Bangladesh provide relief to Rohingya refugees in the country, the bank said in a statement.
“The grant will help Bangladesh provide basic services and build disaster and social resilience for the Rohingya who have fled violence in Myanmar,” the statement said.
Noting that Rohingya outnumbered more than threefold the local residents in the Teknaf and Ukhia Upazila, the bank said the fund will be used in building a water supply system comprising of community standpoints, rainwater harvesting, and piped water supply systems as well as improve sanitation facilities.
“The project will also build and improve multipurpose cyclone shelters, roads, footpaths, drains, culverts, bridges and install solar street lights inside the camps,” it added.
“The influx has placed enormous pressure on local infrastructure, services and public resources. […] Through our existing and new projects, we are helping the local population,” said Dandan Chen, the World Bank’s acting country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“More than half of the Rohingya population are women and girls and before coming to Bangladesh they were exposed to gender-based violence and now are at risk,” World Bank Team Leader for the project Swarna Kazi said.
The grant is the third in a series of planned financings of approximately half a billion dollars announced by the World Bank in June 2018.
- Persecuted people
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."
Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.
In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.
By Md. Kamruzzaman in Bangladesh