World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim on Tuesday said Bangladesh needs more support from the world to help close to a million Rohingya refugees driven by violence from Myanmar.
He made the call as he concluded a two-day visit to the country with the United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres.
The two global body chiefs visited the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar, which is considered the largest and most densely populated refugee settlement in the world.
“Today I saw firsthand the sheer scale of the crisis. I spoke with women and men who have faced extreme hardships, and yet they stand resolute-waiting for a chance to return to their village.,” said Kim.
He appreciated the government of Bangladesh for doing ‘the world a great service by keeping its borders open and supporting the refugees’.
“But much more needs to be done and, with approaching monsoon rains, risks of natural disasters and disease outbreaks are increasing. The international community needs to step up support,” the WB chief insisted.
Kim and Guterres interacted with Rohingya women and men and visited the transit camp, health centers, and women-friendly spaces.
In Cox’s Bazar, the Rohingyas number more than twice the local population, which is putting pressure on infrastructure and services, said a WB news release.
On Monday, Kim met prime minister Sheikh Hasina, finance minister AMA Muhith, the foreign minister and other senior government officials.
While commending Bangladesh for its generosity in providing a refuge for the Rohingya people, he iterated the WB’s commitment to helping the host community and the refugees.
“The World Bank will help Bangladesh sustain its impressive development progress while managing the dire situation created by this large influx. We have mobilized $480 million grant-based support, which will help build country capacity to deal with the crisis,” he said.
As he concluded the visit, he said: “Bangladesh has an inspiring development story: it has emerged as a global leader in reducing poverty and creating opportunities for all.”
“The World Bank considers Bangladesh an important partner in reducing global poverty. We are firm on our commitment to enhance support to help Bangladesh achieve its vision of an upper-middle income status.”
The news release said the World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence.
Since then, it has committed more than $29 billion in grants and interest-free credits to the country, the release added.