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The World Bank has agreed to provide Bangladesh with a grant specifically to meet the basic needs of the around 1 million Rohingya refugees who fled their homeland of Myanmar and are now in Bangladesh, media reported on Monday.
According to local media, Bangladesh had reached out to the World Bank last year in October seeking assistance, and the WB had said it would provide a mix of soft loans and grants, but Bangladesh refused to take loans.
“The World Bank has agreed to provide Bangladesh the full fund as grant money at its spring meeting held in April in the US,” said Mahmuda Begum, additional secretary of the Economic Relations Division of the Bangladesh government to The Daily Star.
The World Bank's Dhaka office confirmed to The Daily Star that they agreed to provide the grant as the case is “exceptional”. A WB team is visiting Bangladesh currently to discuss the issue with the government.
“Bangladesh government and its people have shown enormous generosity in providing shelter to the displaced Rohingya population,” said Rajashree Paralkar, WB's operations manager for Bangladesh.
“We have agreed to allocate additional resources available on grant terms, on an exceptional basis, given the scale and impact of the influx,” he said.
“The visiting World Bank team is now working out to identify the scope and modality of a project to be carried out jointly with the government to explore areas where the money will be spent,” Paralkar added.
As per the World Bank's conditions, the entire fund will have to be used for the benefit of the Rohingyas only.
Members of the Rohingya community from Myanmar's Rakhine state have been facing persecution and left Myanmar after being declared state-less, triggering a refugee crisis. India, despite having a history of welcoming refugees, has fought against accepting the Rohingyas.