US announces $60m aid for Rohingyas

Brajesh Upadhyay, Washington
Published : 04:00, Feb 17, 2019 | Updated : 04:00, Feb 17, 2019

Rohingya refugee girls carry metal pitchers with water at Balukhali makeshift refugee camp in Cox`s Bazar, Bangladesh, September 13, 2017. REUTERS FILE PHOTOThe United States has announced a humanitarian assistance of $60 million to Bangladesh to help the Rohingyas, according to a statement released by the State department.
It has also urged Myanmar “to create the conditions that would allow for voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable returns, based on the informed consent of those who have been forcibly displaced”.
The announcement on assistance was made in Geneva at the launch of the 2019 UN Joint Response Plan for Bangladesh.
“This funding will help address the emergency needs of more than 900,000 refugees in Bangladesh, most of whom are Rohingya women and children from Burma, and the related needs of Bangladeshi host communities,” said State department’s deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino.
The United States remains the leading contributor to the humanitarian response to this crisis in Burma and Bangladesh, having provided nearly $449 million since the outbreak of violence in August 2017, of which nearly $406 million is for programs inside Bangladesh.
“We continue to call on others to join us in contributing to this humanitarian response,” said Palladino.
The beneficiaries of this assistance include Rohingya who have taken refuge in Bangladesh since August 2017, when Burmese security forces began committing atrocities, including ethnic cleansing, against Rohingya villagers across northern Rakhine State in Burma, he said.
The US announcement follows a statement from the UN refugee agency and the International Organization of Migration saying they were looking to raise US$920 million to meet "the massive needs of more than 900,000 refugees from Myanmar and over 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in host communities".
The new Joint Response Plan for 2019 for Bangladesh sets out a comprehensive humanitarian effort shaped around three strategic objectives. By bringing together 132 partners - UN agencies, international and national NGOs and government bodies in a collective effort – the Plan aims to deliver protection to refugee women, men, girls and boys, provide life-saving assistance and foster social cohesion.
It is the third joint humanitarian appeal and builds on achievements made thus far in order to further stabilize the situation of Rohingya refugees.
Over the past 12 months, aid agencies have worked to improve the conditions across refugee settlements through the support provided under the 2018 JRP -– providing basic assistance, upgrading living conditions in the camps and putting in place disaster risk mitigation measures for monsoon and cyclone seasons.