$77m aid required for Rohingyas: UN

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Dhaka, Sep 9 (IANS) Nearly 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh in last 15 days since new violence erupted and the US is braced for a further surge, officials said, adding that it urgently need $77 million to assist the violence hit people in Rakhine state.

“Since 25 August, an estimated 290,000 people are believed to have crossed the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh, tripling the Rohingya population in two weeks,” read a press release issued by the UN Resident Coordinator’s office in Bangladesh, Prothom Alo reported.

“The $77 million requested by the new plan will allow agencies to scale up their response to meet the rapidly growing needs of the new arrivals.”

It went on to say that the new settlements have formed and are expanding rapidly, however people in these sites have little access to basic services.

Resident Coordinator Robert Watkins said: “With the movement of people showing no signs of stopping, it is vital that agencies working have the resources they need to provide emergency assistance to incredibly vulnerable people who have been forced to flee their homes and have arrived in Bangladesh with nothing.”

“Before this latest crisis agencies were already working on the ground, but the influx has overwhelmed the services that were in place. To support the new arrivals there is now an urgent need for 60,000 new shelters, as well as food, clean water and health services, including specialist mental health services and support for survivors of sexual violence,” he said.

To support the implementation of the Response Plan, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated US$7 million.

New violence started on August 25 after Rohingya fighters attacked police posts in Rakhine, triggering a security forces crackdown.

Those who have fled across the border have accused the Myanmar military of staging reprisal attacks on Muslim villages.

The Rohingya have long been subjected to discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which denies them citizenship.

Myanmar’s government regards them as illegal migrants from Bangladesh, even if they have lived in the country for generations.

Refugee camps near Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar already had about 300,000 Rohingya before the upsurge in violence last month and are now overwhelmed.

Those flocking into Bangladesh have given harrowing accounts of killings, rape and arson by Myanmar’s army. Myanmar authorities deny any wrongdoing.

–IANS

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