• Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:12 pm

UK raises pandemic donations for displaced people including Rohingyas

  • Published at 07:52 pm July 14th, 2020
The conditions of the Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar’s Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas have improved significantly from what it was during the arrival of the refugees 19 months ago.  However, the camps are still far from ideal.  Overcrowdedness is the main problem, which has been creating many health and social problems in the makeshift camps.  Government officials said the situation is likely to deteriorate in the future, as the population of the settlements have been increasing every day.  Nevertheless, officials stressed the importance of ensuring food and basic needs for the displaced Rohingyas.  Nearly 700,000 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh and taken refuge in the camps since the military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state began on August 25, 2017. They joined the 400,000 Rohingyas who had already come to Cox’s Bazar earlier.  This correspondent visited the camps and spoke to the Rohingyas who have been living there since their 2017 exodus.   Despite several problems, many Rohingyas told this correspondent that they still prefer living in the camps over going back to Rakhine because their safety is being ensured here by the host government.  “I cannot ask for more. Here in Bangladesh, at least I can sleep without fearing of losing my life or being tortured. I will only return to my home in Rakhine if my security is ensured,” Mohammad Yusuf, who lives at Camp 9 in Balukhali, told the Dhaka Tribune.     When asked about the congestion in the camps, Mizanur Rahman, an official from the Public Administration Ministry and also in-charge of Camp 9 and 10, said they are putting in all efforts to ensure a less congested environment.  “Keeping the congestion in mind, the government is trying to relocate them to Bhashan Char. Let us see what happens,” he said.  Replying to a query, he said: “Earlier, we had some problems regarding law and order, but now things are under control.”  Saving lives was the priority   According to government officials, international and local non-governmental organizations, everyone’s focus was to save lives of the Rohingyas, who started arriving in Cox’s Bazar in late August 2017.  They said now that arrivals have stopped and the situation in the settlements have become stable, “midterm” measures are being taken to improve the conditions, including the construction of houses that are better than the existing ones that are made of bamboo and plastic.  Over time, many other facilities like health clinics, learning centres and support for adolescents and women have been ensured, they added.  Officials said there were still many things that need to be done, but also that nothing much can be done when over a million people are housed on less than 10,000 acres of land.  “This suffocating situation is making the residents rude and quarrelsome. And we have to spend quite a lot of our time solving their issues that arises because of sharing homes and toilets,” a police official said.  “How long can you be confined to a small place without any work or activities? This kind of situation makes a person mentally unhealthy, which leads him or her to do things that should not be done,” he said.  An official of an international NGO said: “In some cases, some 20 people have to live in a space of less than 200sqft. Can you imagine? But this is the reality. More land is needed for the betterment of the situation. But we do not have land.”  The Rohingyas, who appear to have accepted these living conditions, said no one wants to live in this kind of situation, but they have no choice.  “The best thing for us is to return our homes in Rakhine. But that seems very unlikely,” a young Rohingya, who identified himself as Masum, told the Dhaka Tribune.
A market inside Rohingya refugee camp at Ukhiya in Cox's Bazar Dhaka Tribune

This initiative will initially focus on displaced populations in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, DRC, Afghanistan, and the Rohingya response in Bangladesh

The United Kingdom (UK) has taken initiatives to double the impact of British people’s donations and ensure that UK charities working on the ground can reach even more people in need especially the global displaced population including Rohingyas.

The UK government will be matching the first £5 million ($6,249,375) of public donations to the Disaster Emergency Committee’s (a coalition of 14 UK charities) coronavirus appeal to help the more vulnerable countries and communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a message sent by British High Commission in Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Funds raised by this appeal will initially focus on displaced populations in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, DRC, Afghanistan, and the Rohingya influx response in Bangladesh, it said.

The Disaster Emergency Committee will use donations from the British public and UK aid to tackle coronavirus in refugee camps and save lives in developing countries.

The fund will be used by providing frontline doctors and aid workers with equipment and supplies to care for the vulnerable and sick, ensuring families get enough food to prevent malnutrition, particularly amongst children, and giving families clean water and soap, as well as information about the dangers of the disease.

The announcement takes the total amount of UK aid pledged to end the pandemic globally to £769 million ($962,022,845).

International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said they are matching generous donations from the British people to the emergency appeal pound for pound, meaning the money will go twice as far in helping to protect millions of the world’s most vulnerable people from the deadly effects of coronavirus.

The Disaster Emergency Committee’s 14 member charities are: Action Against Hunger, Action Aid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund, and World Vision UK.


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