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17 September, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 September, 2017 12:09:03 AM

Call for int’l aid gets louder

Call for int’l aid gets louder
A group of refugees, Rohingya men, women and children carrying whatever belongings they could save while fleeing ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine State of Myanmar, walk on the bank of the Naf River to enter Bangladesh yesterday after crossing the river by boat. Focus Bangla Photo

The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) has made an urgent appeal for fund for critical operations in Bangladesh and Myanmar. “We are responding to the most urgent needs of the new arrivals from Myanmar within our capacity and resources. People are fleeing their homes with very few belongings and we hope that we can relieve some of their suffering by providing much needed healthcare, water and food,” said an ICRC press release yesterday quoting Ikhtiyar Aslanov, the organisation’s head of delegation in Bangladesh.

However, he said, “Addressing the needs of all people will not be possible without additional donor support.” Head of ICRC delegation in Myanmar Fabrizzio Carboni said, “We are deeply concerned by the current outbreaks of violence, and the devastating effect it is having on all people in the northern areas of Rakhine as well as in Bangladesh.

“Lives of those affected by this tragic situation have become simply unbearable. We continue scaling up aid to support all people fleeing violence, but more funding is urgently needed,”

“The ICRC is concerned by the violence and its effect on all people in the northern areas  of Rakhine as well as in Bangladesh. We call on all persons involved in the violence to respect the rule of law and to not attack people who are not engaged in the violence,” said the release.

The recent violence has caused massive numbers of people to leave their homes, and the ICRC plans to increase its operations to help meet those people's needs.

“We plan to assist with water, food, medical care and other basic necessities. We also will help reconnect people who have been separated from their families or loved ones due to displacement. This assistance will be based on an assessment of the needs of the displaced.”

The ICRC is working closely with the Myanmar Red Cross Society, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and the International Federation.

In Myanmar, the ICRC appeals for 16,6 million Swiss francs ($ 17.2 million) to fund the operations to reach at least 150,000 people.

In Bangladesh, ICRC appeals for 6. 9 million Swiss francs ($7.17 million) to reach at least 75,000 people. The

International Federation need 12.7 million Swiss francs ($13.2 million) to reach at least 100,000 people.

Quoting humanitarian organisations on the ground, the United Nations said on Friday that the number of Rohingya refugees who have fled across the border from Bangladesh to Myanmar has climbed to 391,000.

“Aid workers continue to supply food, plastic sheets, water and other supplies.  The first 15 of 35 scheduled trucks of aid provided by the UN refugee agency [UNHCR] arrived in Cox’s Bazar today (Friday), while other agencies are airlifting their supplies into Bangladesh,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary general told a regular briefing in New York.

The UNHCR has also sought an initial emergency aid of US$ 30 million for Rohingyas, two days after it jointly launched with UN’s migration organization IOM an appeal for enhanced global assistance as surges of refugee continued to hit Bangladesh, adds BSS.

“Based on the numbers of arrivals and needs assessments made by (our) field staff, UNHCR urgently requires additional funds to meet the immediate needs of new arrivals and to provide protection and life-saving assistance,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told a press briefing at UN’s Geneva office on Friday.

He said the current situation was “one of the fastest growing refugee crises of recent years” and “created enormous humanitarian needs in an area of Bangladesh already affected by earlier refugee influxes”.

The UNHCR official said the influx began while Bangladesh was trying to mitigate the debacles caused by recent floods, a situation when the country was “not equipped to cope with large number of new arrivals”.

Mahecic said UNHCR found the Myanmar refugees to be in “real hardship” and “some of the most difficult conditions seen in any current refugee situation”.

“In response to the unfolding crisis, over the past three weeks UNHCR has emptied its warehouses in Bangladesh to assist the newly arrived stateless Rohingya refugees,” he said.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization [WHO] is working with the government and other organisations to provide health care, Stéphane Dujarric has said.

“Tomorrow (Saturday), a WHO backed vaccination campaign against measles and polio will be launched to reach 150,000 children between the ages of 6 months and 15 years who have newly arrived in Bangladesh. WHO is also helping the Government send in medical teams to the new refugee settlements and will distribute emergency medical kits, water purification tablets and cholera kits in the coming days,” he added.

In another development, Turkey reiterated its political and material support on the Rohingya crisis.

In a meeting with ambassador to Ankara Allama Siddiki, Turkish deputy prime minister Bekir Bozdağ thanked the government of Bangladesh for hosting a big number of Rohingya population, a foreign ministry press release said yesterday.

During the meeting, the ambassador highlighted the historical background of the crisis and said the government has been taking best possible measures to give succor to the displaced and distressed Rohingyas on purely humanitarian basis.

He said that this has been hailed by the international community as a bold initiative and mentioned that this is an issue whose origin lies in Myanmar and resolution of the problem lies with the Myanmar authority.



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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.

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