ADB approves $41m aid for Rohingyas in Bangladesh

Rohingya camp in Cox's Bazar, BangladeshFile photo

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $41.4 million grant to help improve infrastructure and manage the basic needs of Rohingyas who were displaced from Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.

The grant forms the second phase of ADB’s ongoing emergency assistance project, a $100 million grant approved in 2018, it said in a press release on Wednesday.

The new assistance will strengthen the resilience against Covid-19 and any future pandemic by expanding health facilities and improving water supply and sanitation, said Edimon Ginting, ADB country director for Bangladesh.

He also said disaster shelter centers, health facilities, improved water supply and sanitation, and better waste management that will be provided with ADB assistance will reduce disaster risks and serve basic human needs of the camp population until their repatriation.

The grant will build 200 water and sanitation facilities and three solid waste management facilities, and establish a piped water supply system at Ukhiya.

It will, among others, upgrade four health care facilities for severe acute respiratory infection, expand six primary health care and diagnostic centers in Teknaf, improve skills of health care workers in Cox’s Bazar district, and construct a multipurpose disaster-resilient isolation center to help with the Covid-19 response.

The Cox’s Bazar district is highly susceptible to disasters triggered by natural hazards. To strengthen disaster resilience and help protect displaced persons, six school-cum-cyclone shelters in local primary schools and one multipurpose cyclone shelter, which will also function as a Covid-19 isolation center, will be constructed. Besides, about 13 kilometers (km) of rural access roads leading to the camp facilities will be upgraded.

In addition to the new grant assistance, ADB approved a $30 million concessional loan to rehabilitate a 30.76 km section of national highway-1 to improve the transportation of relief and essential goods between Teknaf and Cox’s Bazar.

The improved road will facilitate economic activities and income generation in the region, benefiting both the displaced persons from Myanmar sheltered in the camps and the host community.

ADB support has so far provided clean drinking water, bathing facilities, food distribution centers, and disaster shelters benefitting over 1.2 million people in the camps and host communities.

Safety in the camps also improved through solar street lamps, and lightning arresters. Roads, walkways, and bridges inside the camps improved the overall management of the camps as well as food distribution and other services.