After fleeing violence in Myanmar in October 2016, Rohingya refugees live in overcrowded makeshift sites in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Credit: UNHCR/Saiful Huq Omi
The United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock released today US$7 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to urgently help tens of thousands of people fleeing violence in Myanmar and seeking refuge in Bangladesh.
“CERF is one of the fastest ways to get aid to people whenever and wherever they need it the most,” Lowcock said. “These funds will immediately allow humanitarian partners to scale up urgent aid by providing additional shelter, food, critical health care and more to those who need our help so desperately, especially women and girls”.
Over the past two weeks, more than 160,000 people have fled fighting in Myanmar’s Rakhine state to Bangladesh. Many have walked for days, leaving behind their homes and crossing mountains and rivers to seek safety. “As we help those fleeing across the border, I appeal for urgent unhindered access to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to all those in need,” said Lowcock.
The influx is straining existing basic services in Bangladesh. Aid agencies have been providing assistance for new arrivals but struggle to cope with the rising needs. The situation is alarming and comes at a time when the country also faces severe flooding and landslides. These funds follow a previous CERF allocation to help the flood-affected people of Bangladesh, bringing the total to nearly $10 million. “My appreciation goes to all donors to CERF, who are making this urgent aid possible to reduce human suffering and to save and protect lives,” Lowcock said.