Visiting World Bank vice-president for South Asia region Hartwig Schafer on Thursday said that the world needed to provide sustained support to Bangladesh to meet the urgent needs of Rohingyas and the host community in Cox’s Bazar.
After visiting the Rohingya camps in the Cox’s Bazar, including the world’s largest and most congested refugee camp at Kutupalong, Schafer praised the government and the people of Bangladesh for their generous efforts that saved thousands of lives as the Rohingyas fled violence in Myanmar.
‘The need is much larger. The World Bank has mobilised close to half a billion USD financing on grant terms to help Bangladesh deal with the crisis. The global community cannot afford to become distracted from this crisis and needs to provide more support,’ he said.
He said that despite its own challenges, Bangladesh sheltered nearly one million Rohingyas and also ably coordinated humanitarian support and basic needs.
This helps prevent major disease outbreaks and natural disasters in the congested camps, he said.
The bank approved the first two operations of a series that totaled $75 million in grants, including $13 million in grants from Canada. These include a $50 million grant to help the Rohingyas, especially women and children, receive much-needed health services, and a $25 million grant to help Rohingya children access learning opportunities until their safe return to Myanmar. Through the existing projects, the bank is helping the local population.
During his weeklong visit, Hartwig Schafer visited Ghorashal Power Plant, where the bank was helping improve efficiency and double electricity generation capacity. In Dhaka, he participated in the launch of a World Bank report entitled ‘South Asia’s Hotspots: the impact of temperature and precipitations changes on living standards’.
In his first visit to Bangladesh as the World Bank vice-president for South Asia, he also met the finance minister, the water recourse minister and other senior government officials, private sector and civil society representatives.
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