File photo: EPA

Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– The World Bank (WB) is set to provide US$480 million in grant-based support to help Bangladesh address the needs of Rohingya refugees.

The fund will be used in areas such as health, education, water and sanitation, disaster risk management, and social protection of the Rohingya refugees.

The WB Board of Directors has approved a $50 million additional grant to an existing Health Sector Support Project in Bangladesh that is the first in a series that could total as much as $480 million, according to a WB statement, issued from Washington on June 28.

The health-sector grant includes contributions based on an innovative partnership between the Government of Canada and the International Development Association (IDA), the WB’s fund for the poorest countries.

It will help the Rohingya receive maternal, neonatal, infant, child, and adolescent health and nutrition services, as well as reproductive health care and family planning support, the WB explained.

“Bangladesh has shown great leadership in this evolving humanitarian crisis by providing refuge for the Rohingya people,” WB Group President Jim Yong Kim said in the statement.

He also added this grant allows the WB Group, working in collaboration with the Government of Canada, to support these efforts.

“We’re deeply moved by the suffering of the Rohingya people and stand ready to help them until they can return home in a safe, voluntary, and dignified manner,” The WB chief noted.

He also said: “At the same time, we are also continuing to support the Bangladeshi people and the host communities, who have shown great generosity by welcoming these refugees.”

“Bangladesh has sheltered the Rohingya people fleeing from violence in Myanmar because it is the right thing to do for fellow human beings. But their needs are enormous and the world needs to step up support,” Finance Minister of Bangladesh AMA Muhith said.

He also said: “We’re committed to addressing the basic needs of these unfortunate refugees.”

The WB Group President Jim Yong Kim, along with the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, will visit Bangladesh on July 1-2 to assess the severity of the crisis and discuss what more can be done.

They will visit the Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar and meet with the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, other senior government officials, and representatives of civil society and other partners, according to the statement.

Since August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya have taken shelter from violence in Myanmar in the Cox’s Bazar District in Bangladesh, making it the world’s largest and fastest growing refugee camp, and putting pressure on the environment, existing infrastructure, and social services that were already constrained.