Dhaka – Dhaka has urged for sustainable solution to the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis after more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed into Bangladesh fleeing sectarian violence in Myanmar.
Bangladesh’s Geneva envoy Shamim Ahmed made the demand Monday as United Nations gathered aid agencies and donors in Geneva to shore up 434 million dollars in aid to address the crisis.
The European Union has been co-hosting the Pledging Conference with Kuwait in partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the International Organisation for Migration and the UN Refugee Agency, as humanitarian response to the crisis was still very poor.
Nearly two months into the crisis, thousands of children and women are still without basic lifesaving services either in makeshift squalid camps or out in the open, according to UN agencies.
The sum is calculated to fund UN operations until the end of February in Bangladesh, which has kept its borders open on humanitarian ground, despite being one of Asia’s poorest countries.
Filippo Grandi, the chief of UN refugee agency, said the needs are massive.
“It’s a pretty grim situation,” Grandi, who visited the refugee camps earlier, told the conference.
UNICEF said the resources for what remains a severely under-funded emergency.
“The Rohingya refugee crisis shows no sign of abating,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.
“The needs of refugees and those of the communities hosting them are increasing at a much faster pace than our capacity to respond. We need more resources and we need them now.”
The UN agencies estimated 603,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed the border facing atrocities by the Myanmar army, which launched an offensive against suspected Muslims insurgents on August 25 in the Rakhine state.
Bangladesh, which has been asking Myanmar to repatriate its nationals for a long time, has also been hosting nearly 400,000 undocumented Rohingya who had been driven away from their homes since 1990s.
The UN agency says close to 1.2 million people – including new arrivals, Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar in previous escalations of violence, and vulnerable Bangladeshi communities – need humanitarian assistance in Cox’s Bazaar.
Some 720,000 of them are children.
The European Commission has announced 30 million Euros as humanitarian and development funds in response to the Rohingya influx to Bangladesh.
The Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has announced the EU’s contribution of an additional €30 million for the Rohingya communities in Bangladesh.
This comes on the top of over €21 million in overall EU assistance already allocated to Rohingya and host communities in both Bangladesh and Myanmar, bringing the total EU support for this year to over €51 million.
“The Rohingya deserve nothing less than every other human being in the world. They deserve a future. We have a moral duty to give these people hope,” Stylianides said.
The EU humanitarian support will include for providing essentials like water, sanitation, food, healthcare, protection, and education”, said Commissioner Stylianides.
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica underscored the need for thoughts over long-term solutions for both Rohingya and the host community in Bangladesh.
“Whilst the focus should remain on creating an enabling environment for safe and dignified voluntary returns of Rohingya to Myanmar, we need to also ensure that local communities, who are already facing enormous challenges, are not left behind and that we provide them medium and long-term development assistance. Any solution has to inevitably include political dialogue with all parties involved,” Mimica said.
Commissioner Stylianides will travel to Bangladesh next week to meet with Rohingya refugees and visit EU aid projects in the affected area.