WFP Bangladesh Country Brief, January 2023

In Numbers

981.8 mt of food distributed

US$12.5 million cash-based transfers made

US$99.2 million net funding requirements (March-August 2023)

1 million people assisted

Operational Updates

• WFP is urgently appealing for US$125 million to prevent food ration cuts for the Rohingya refugee population in Cox’s Bazar and maintain current blanket food assistance levels until end-2023. US$80 million will be required to limit to one ration cut in 2023 (assuming US$10 per person per month from March until December).

• In Cox’s Bazar, WFP provided general food assistance to 905,600 Rohingya via a US$12 e-voucher per person per month with an additional US$3 provided to households most vulnerable to food insecurity to complement their nutritious needs via fresh food products. Two outlets were closed in January to enhance cost savings; nineteen outlets are now serving the refugee population with a selection of cereals, fresh food items and spices. The US$12 e-voucher allows refugees to consume 2,100 kcal per day in alignment with global humanitarian standards.

• WFP continued to provide preventive and curative nutrition services to Bangladeshis at 130 community clinics along with refugees at 45 integrated nutrition sites to address malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. More than 196,300 pregnant and lactating women, and children aged 6-59 months were reached, including 74,300 refugee children 24-59 months who received a US$3 nutrition-sensitive e-voucher.

• On Bhasan Char WFP supported all 28,300 Rohingya refugees with WFP food assistance and continued a small-scale e-voucher pilot on the island, which reached 2,670 people with a US$3 top-up to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. Through its malnutrition prevention and treatment programmes on the island, WFP supported 7,800 pregnant and nursing women, and children aged 6-59 months with specialized nutritious foods.

• The Government and WFP completed a feasibility study to determine the best modality for the National School Feeding Programme, which is planned to start in July. In Cox’s Bazar,

WFP continued school feeding in camp learning centres, but ended biscuit distributions in most community-based learning facilities due to monitoring and accountability challenges. WFP still provided fortified biscuits to 251,300 refugees and 62,000 Bangladeshi children and is working with the Education Sector to find alternate support for children affected by the change. An additional 8,600 primary-aged children were supported via school feeding on Bhasan Char.

• Self-Reliance activities for refugees, and livelihoods interventions for the surrounding Bangladeshi community are planned to resume by late February, along with disaster risk reduction programming to enhance food security and nutrition in Cox’s Bazar.

• In January, WFP completed the last distributions to people affected by severe June 2022 floods in northeast Bangladesh. With UN Central Emergency Response Fund support, a total of 119,000 people received food (40 kg rice, 4 kg pulses per household) and unconditional cash assistance (BDT 2,500/USD 25 per household) after the disaster. This complemented WFP’s life-saving response in June, which reached 176,800 affected people with 85 mt of fortified biscuits.

• Under the Urban Food Assistance Programme, WFP provided unconditional cash transfers to 13,200 people vulnerable to food insecurity in two low-income areas of Dhaka. The programme offers a cash top-up for purchasing nutritious food, along with social and behaviour change messaging and UN Population Fund distribution of menstrual pads. Evidence generated through the programme will inform the development of future government social safety nets for the low-income people in urban areas.

• In collaboration with the Bangladesh National Nutrition Council and the Cabinet Division, WFP conducted a district-level training on basic nutrition and nutrition-sensitive programming to help the Government integrate nutrition-sensitive approaches into its social safety net programmes.

• WFP and the Department of Women Affairs presented a series of recommendations to the Central Bank and financial service providers to enable stronger digital financial inclusion within the Vulnerable Women Benefit Programme.

Source: World Food Programme