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Dhaka, 28 December 2016 – The European Commission is allocating € 300 000 (BDT 24,941,382) in humanitarian aid funding to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees who have recently fled from Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh. The aid will directly benefit 7500 newly arrived refugees in the coastal district of Cox’s Bazar.
“Most of the Rohingya families who have recently crossed the Naaf River have arrived with nothing, and are therefore in critical need of humanitarian assistance”, said Roman Majcher, Head of the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO) office in Bangladesh. “The support from the European Commission will not only ensure that their urgent needs are addressed, but will also contribute to help them cope with what they have just gone through by providing them with psychological support”.
The EU-funded assistance will focus on delivering much-needed immediate relief and assistance to Rohingya refugees in terms of food and nutrition support, as well as the provision of non-food relief items such as sleeping kits, hygiene parcels and warm clothes. Unconditional cash grants will also be distributed to the most vulnerable to help them cover their daily basic needs, and psychological support will also be provided to help them cope with post-traumatic stress and shock.
Bangladesh has witnessed a major influx of members of the Rohingya community into the southeastern Chittagong Division over the last weeks, as a result of escalating tensions and violence in the northern part of neighbouring Myanmar’s Rakhine state. It is believed that at least 27 000 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border into the country in search of safety, more than half of whom are women and children. Many are in dire condition, both physically and mentally, and many children have arrived showing signs of malnutrition. The sudden increase in the number of refugees has prompted urgent needs for shelter, clothes and other relief items.
The EU funding is being made available via the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) through its Small Scale Response mechanism.
Sharing its border with Myanmar, Bangladesh has over the past three decades witnessed successive waves of ethnic Rohingya Muslims arriving into the country due to persecution in their home country, where they are not recognised as an ethnic minority and are therefore denied basic rights. It is estimated that, prior to the recent developments, between 300 000 and 500 000 Rohingyas already lived in Bangladesh as ‘undocumented Myanmar nationals’. The latest influx of refugees is a consequence of the recent violence which has gripped the northern region of Myanmar’s Rakhine state following attacks against three border guard posts on 9thOctober.
ECHO’s Small Scale Response fund is a global mechanism which allows for rapid funding for up to € 300 000 for humanitarian aid in countries affected by natural and man-made disasters.
Pierre Prakash, Regional Information Officer for Asia and the Pacific, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO): Pierre.Prakash@echofield.eu