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Rohingya crisis: aid groups seek $400m to help a million people in Bangladesh

Agencies’ aid plan targets 1.2 million people, many of them children, who need life-saving assistance

4 October 2017, 9:47am
Rohingya refugees (Photo: the Daily Star)
Rohingya refugees (Photo: the Daily Star)
Humanitarian organisations aiding Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh claimed that they need $434 million, over the next six months to help up to 1.2 million people, many of them children, who need life-saving assistance.

There are an estimated 809,000 Rohingya sheltering in Bangladesh after they fled persecution and violence in Myanmar, more than half a million of whom have arrived since 25 August to join 300,000 Rohingya, who were already in Bangladesh.

“The Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar is highly vulnerable, many having experienced severe trauma, and are now living in extremely difficult conditions,” said Robert Watkins, United Nations resident coordinator in Bangladesh, on Wednesday, referring to the Bangladeshi border district where most Rohingya are currently living.

Bangladesh and humanitarian organisations are struggling to help the 509,00 Rohingya who have arrived since 25 August, when attacks by Rohingya militants triggered a Myanmar military offensive that the United Nations has branded an “ethnic cleansing”.

Myanmar has since rejected these claims and says that its security forces are fighting insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army who claimed responsibility for attacks on about 30 police posts and an army camp on 25 August.

The insurgents were also behind similar but smaller attacks in October last year that also led to a brutal Myanmar army response, triggering the flight of 87,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh.

The agencies’ plan factors in the possibility of another 91,000 refugees coming, as the influx was continuing day to day, Watkins said.

“The plan targets 1.2 million people, including all Rohingya refugees and 300,000 Bangladeshi host communities over the next six months,” he said.

“A rapid response from donors to this response plan is essential if the humanitarian organisations are to move ahead with critical activities to save lives, and provide protection to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh,” Watkins said.