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23 October, 2017 12:52:38 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 23 October, 2017 11:00:42 AM
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All eyes at Geneva conference

26pc of appealed $434m funded
HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN
All eyes at Geneva conference

Against the backdrop of apparent slow response from the donors in terms of funding to look after hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, who took shelters in Bangladesh to escape the brutalities of the Myanmar security forces in Rakhine, a high-level ‘pledging conference’ is being held in the Swiss city of Geneva today.

The objective of the ministerial-level conference is to raise the necessary resources to enable the humanitarian community to meet the most urgent needs of Rohingya refugees who sought shelter and safety in Bangladesh.

Like all the United Nations Agencies, other organisations working on the ground to look after the Rohingyas are eagerly looking forward to the outcome of the ministerial-level conference with a sense of fear of dire consequences in the absence of unavailability of adequate funds.     

The ministerial-level meeting is being co-hosted by the European Union (EU) and the government of Kuwait, and jointly organised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and United Nations Office for the Coordination Affairs (OCHA).  The conference will be co-chaired by chiefs of OCHA, UNHCR and IOM.

The humanitarian crisis caused by escalating violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State is causing sufferings on a catastrophic scale. Refugees arriving in Bangladesh—mostly women and children—are traumatised, and some have arrived with injuries caused by gunshots, shrapnel, fire and landmines, said OCHA.

“Humanitarian partners continue to scale up operations, but additional resources are urgently needed,” it said.

According to the UN, the Rohingya Refugee Crisis Response Plan requires $434 million to help 1.2 million people through next February, 2018, but currently only 26 per cent of fund has been made available.

Since August 25, nearly 6 lakh Rohingyas crossed into Bangladesh to join about 4.5 already living in Bangladesh for decades. The influx of Rohingyas has placed Bangladesh in a very challenging situation.

“We have our own constraints. Despite that we have give shelter to lakhs of Rohingyas on humanitarian ground. At the onset, when we were hesitant to open our border for them, we were urged by the international

community to open our border with an assurance of assistance to look after the arrivals,” a senior government official told The Independent.

“Now, we are having disturbing news from different UN agencies regarding fund. I cannot even think of a prospect of any death at the shelters due to starvation or lack of treatment,” he said, hoping that the international community will do what it takes to ensure smooth relief operations.

In an exclusive interview with this correspondent on Wednesday in Dhaka, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said that Rohingya deaths out of starvation and lack of treatment is ‘inevitable’ if adequate funding is not available.

Expressing concern over the lack of funding, he also informed that IOM has so far got little percentage of the fund it appealed for.

The day before, UNICEF, the United Nations children’s fund, warned that the lives of Rohingya children appear to be under threat due to lack of funding.

“Without immediate additional funding, UNICEF will not be able to continue providing lifesaving aid and protection to Rohingya children who have fled horrific violence in Myanmar for refuge in Bangladesh,” UNICEF Spokesperson Marixie Mercado told a press briefing in Geneva.

Almost 60 per cent of the Rohingyas who crossed into Bangladesh since August 25 are children and thousands more are crossing each week,” she said.

“The growing needs are far outpacing resources. As of today, UNICEF has received just 7 per cent of the $76 million required to provide emergency support to children over the next six months,” said the spokesperson.

MK

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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