|UNITED NATIONS, Jan.8,2018-- A new study shows more than 90 percent of recent Rohingya refugee arrivals in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, are at risk from having a poor diet despite receiving emergency food assistance, a UN spokesman said on Friday.
The World Food Programme (WFP) Rohingya Emergency Vulnerability Assessment and food security sector partners study in November and December 2017 raised concerns over limited access to a well diversified and balanced diet, said deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq.
As a result, he said, the WFP will scale up its e-voucher programs in 2018 to reach new arrivals in Cox's Bazar.
Some 90,000 people are enrolled in WFP's e-voucher programs where they receive a monthly amount on a pre-paid debit card which can be used in allocated shops to buy 19 different foods, including rice, lentils, fresh vegetables, chilies, eggs and dry fish, Haq said.
The e-programs contrast with WFP's food distribution program for new arrivals which include rice, vegetable oil and lentils. It's an emergency ration designed to provide basic calories, but lacking in dietary diversity, the spokesman said.
The study also recommends the scaling up of a livelihood support program within host communities prioritizing especially women who have no income, he said, adding that the WFP is providing food and food vouchers to more than 700,000 refugees.
More than 650,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since Aug. 25, 2017, when rebel Rohingya militia launched deadly attacks against security forces in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State.
The action allegedly triggered retaliation attacks by Myanmar vigilantes and government troops, forcing Rohingyas to flee into adjacent Bangladesh. There already were about 300,000 Rohingyas who had fled earlier into Bangladesh.
Most of the recent refugees went to the Cox's Bazar region in the extreme south of Bangladesh, along the Bay of Bengal.