BGR Provides Emergency Aid to Yemen and Rohingya Refugees

Tom Spies

At 6 months old, twins Bassem and Basma Hassam,
weigh only three kilograms.
Photo: WFP/Marco Frattini

In the second week of December, the BGR Board voted unanimously to make emergency donations to the World Food Program USA to provide assistance to two communities facing severe food shortages. An emergency donation of $8,000 is helping the World Food Program provide aid to the people of Yemen; the other donation, of $4,000, is helping provide food assistance to the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar now living in Bangladesh. In Yemen, over the past two years a sustained air assault by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia has left tens of thousands of civilians dead and millions of people internally displaced. An outbreak of cholera, the worst in the world, has affected hundreds of thousands of people, 30 percent of them children. One child in Yemen dies every 10 minutes due to preventable diseases. As a result of the conflict, tens of thousands of Yemenis are enduring famine conditions, while half of Yemen’s 28 million people are on the brink of starvation. A U.N.-brokered ceasefire agreement was signed in early December and on December 13, the U.S. Senate voted 56 to 41 to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen. A similar bill in the House is not expected to pass this year.

The conflict has been particularly destructive in the port city of Hodeidah. The WFP is working around the clock to provide emergency rations to people fleeing violence. Many people have been displaced from their homes to different parts of the city without income or means of survival except for WFP food aid. The agency provides families with food including beans, peas, and fish. Any disruption to the functioning of the port in Hodeidah will hamper critical commercial and humanitarian flows of food, fuel and medicine. This year, WFP began a school meals program in Yemen to provide nutritious, ready-to-eat food to 140,000 school children. WFP hopes to scale up aid to assist 600,000 students a month. WFP will also begin providing cash assistance in areas where markets are working well to allow up to 1 million people to have greater choice of food. Over four decades, Rohingya refugees have been fleeing to Bangladesh from Rakhine State, Myanmar, where they have faced discrimination and targeted violence. The largest and fastest Rohingya refugee influx into Bangladesh began in August 2017. Approximately 800,000 refugees have fled to Bangladesh, bringing the total number of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar to nearly 920,000. Over 80 percent of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are women and children.

The refugee population is highly dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic food needs, while over 38 percent of the local host community are vulnerable to food insecurity, with households that are headed by women being even more vulnerable. WFP provides life-saving assistance to refugees through in-kind food distributions of rice, pulses and fortified oil. Entitlement size is adjusted as per family size. Nearly 650,000 refugees are benefiting from monthly food distributions. Nutrition programs are implemented in refugee camps and host communities. A nutritious supplementary food (fortified wheat soya blend) is distributed to pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under the age of five years. The program also provides nutrition assessments, growth monitoring counselling, behavior change communication sessions on nutrition, health and hygiene and the preparation and conservation of the monthly ration of supplementary food.  

WFP distributes micronutrient fortified biscuits to all primary school children from the local host community and in learning centers for refugee children. Over 258,000 children benefit from this daily snack, which helps allay hunger and supports them to learn better. The biscuits are locally produced in Bangladesh. 

 

Rohingya child holding her fortified super cereal provided.
This is a special nutritious porridge given to children under five and
to pregnant women to help improve their diet.
© WFP/Saikat Mojumder

 

Tom Spies is the Executive Director of Buddhist Global Relief. Information in this article has been taken from the website of the World Food Program.

Our Projects

BGR projects are designed to provide direct food aid to people afflicted by hunger and malnutrition, to promote ecologically sustainable agriculture, to support the education of girls and women, and to give women an opportunity to start right livelihood projects to support their families. This is a selection of our newest projects. To see all our projects, please click here.


Bangladesh NEW

VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR MARRIED ADOLESCENT GIRLS
Help fund vocational training for 200 married adolescent girls so they can pursue alternative opportunities and shape their own futures. »


Brazil  NEW

SUPPORTING TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES AMONG GUARANI WOMEN
Support women from the indigenous Guarani Mbya community in promoting and applying traditional agricultural practices in five villages in São Paulo. »


Cambodia NEW

MONITORING THE WELFARE OF PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN PRISON
Provide food and hygiene materials for women and infants living in 18 Cambodian prisons, plagued by squalid conditions. »


Cameroon   NEW

EDUCATION OF ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN - COMPUTER LITERACY
Provide 120 children in need with school furniture, literacy materials, and computers. » »


Haiti

FOOD PROGRAM FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN
Provide two meals a day, five days a week, to approximately 100 children and 40 adults. » 


India   NEW

EDUCATION AND FOOD AID FOR CHILDREN IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH
Help in providing three healthy meals a day, seven days a week, to 240 students. » 


Malawi and Kenya

TRAINING FARMERS IN CLIMATE RESISTANT AGRICULTURE METHODS
Training in biointensive climate-resilient farming to increase food production for 450 farmers, of whom 300 are women. » 


Peru   NEW

HELPING GIRLS IMPROVE THEIR NUTRITION, WELL-BEING, AND SCHOOLING
Improve the physical and emotional well-being of 30 young women by funding school supplies and providing workshops on the importance of education, hygiene, and a healthy diet. »


Sri Lanka  NEW

LIVELIHOOD TRAINING FOR DISABLED PEOPLE
Provide vocational training and work opportunities for 60 disabled people in the Anuradhabura district. » 



Sudan

INCREASING HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY IN SOUTH DARFUR
Provide agricultural training and supplies to an estimated 3,000 individuals, increasing food production by 30 percent. »

 

Uganda NEW

PEACE SCHOOL
Provide assistance to 12 students to attend school. »

U.S. Easton, Pennsylvania

EASTON URBAN FARM
Provide 6,000 pounds of locally grown produce to 800 low-income residents, 600 of them women. Build community through programs including free monthly workshops on urban farming topics. »